Does Medicare Cover Xanax? 

Anxiety is a medical condition that is often misunderstood. Some people believe that anxiety is merely a feeling you get when you’re nervous about something in life. The truth, however, is that anxiety can be a serious medical concern that may rob you of your ability to participate in everyday activities. Many seniors experience severe anxiety due to chemical imbalances, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other ongoing health challenges.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

An anxiety disorder can manifest in many ways. For some seniors who experience generalized anxiety, an overall feeling of imbalance and disconnection can be a part of everyday life. For others, anxiety may manifest as severe depression in which someone suffering from an anxiety disorder may not be able to find joy in anything or experience positive emotions.

Still, anxiety may make it difficult for sufferers to go outside, be around other people, have one-on-one conversations or socialize in groups. Anxiety can also lead to sleep disturbances, mood swings, nausea, a lack of appetite and all of the medical complications accompanying these side effects.

How is anxiety treated?

If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may be able to benefit from talk therapy. Many seniors and retirees find that counseling from a licensed therapist can reduce overall anxiety in everyday life.

In conjunction with talk therapy, medications like Xanax may also be prescribed to take as needed to deal with anxiety and the stress it causes. Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is short-acting to treat anxiety. It works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This chemical process promotes calm and can counteract intense anxiety and panic reactions. Xanax is often prescribed to be taken only when a situation calls for it. Still, some seniors may need to take Xanax daily to combat anxiety and panic.

Does Medicare cover Xanax?

Seniors and retirees who are prescribed Xanax to help with anxiety will be glad to know that most Medicare Part D prescription drug plans provide coverage for Xanax. Medicare benefits under Part D are available as optional coverage to help pay the cost of medications that are available for purchase from retail pharmacies. A Medicare Part D drug plan requires a monthly premium to use these Medicare benefits. Medicare recipients must also meet their plan deductibles before benefits apply toward the purchase of Xanax or other covered medications.

In terms of cost, the monthly premium for a Part D Prescription Drug Plan depends on your income level. Most Medicare recipients will have to pay a premium set out by their plan providers for prescription drug coverage, but high-income retirees may also have to pay an additional monthly premium on top of their plan premium. Your Part D deductible, however, can be at most $505 for 2023, but this number can change from year to year. You may be able to get assistance paying your Part D costs if you qualify for Extra Help due to low income and resources. 

Inpatient Medicare coverage of Xanax

If you are hospitalized, and your inpatient care team administers Xanax, this is covered by Medicare Part A. All inpatient care is covered for up to 60 days in a Medicare-participating hospital under Part A. Most Medicare recipients do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A as this portion is paid for through FICA taxes paid during your working years.

You will have a deductible for Part A, however. In 2023, the standard Part A deductible is $1,600 per year. If you require care beyond 60 days in a hospital, Medicare coverage is available at a per-day rate for an additional 30 days. After 90 days of inpatient care, lifetime reserve days can be used to continue care.

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