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Some people value vitamins and supplements. Health-care providers may recommend certain vitamins and supplements, such as vitamin D and calcium, the National Institutes of Health reports.
Medicare doesn’t generally cover vitamins and supplements. There may be some exceptions, however.
What types of vitamins and supplements may be covered by Medicare?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) might provide coverage for the following vitamins and supplements in certain situations:
- Niacin (when prescribed to treat a condition such as dyslipidemia, not when used as a supplement)
- Prenatal vitamins
- Vitamin D analogs (chemically similar to Vitamin D – such as calcitriol). Doctors sometimes prescribe these to treat or prevent certain conditions; for example, calcitriol may be used for bone disease or low calcium levels, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Fluoride preparations
- Certain prescription drugs to treat weakness or loss of muscle mass due to HIV/AIDS
- Sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium when used to boost your electrolytes
Medicare may provide coverage for vitamins or vitamin supplements when your doctor prescribes them as part of a recognized and accepted treatment for a disease you have. The list above may not include every vitamin supplement covered by Medicare.
Are vitamins and supplements part of nutrition therapy covered by Medicare?
Medicare Part B may cover some vitamin supplements as part of nutrition therapy if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or have had a kidney transplant within the last 36 months. Covered nutrition therapy services may include:
- An initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment
- One-on-one nutritional counseling
- Follow-up visits to check on your progress in managing your diet
When nutrition therapy services are ordered by a doctor or nurse practitioner who accepts Medicare assignment, you typically pay nothing if you are enrolled in Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage plan.
What about other vitamins and supplements?
Some Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (offered under Medicare Part D by private, Medicare-approved insurance companies) might cover certain vitamins and supplements. Every Medicare Prescription Drug Plan has its own formulary, or list of covered drugs. Generally, Medicare Part D doesn’t cover vitamin supplements, as mentioned above.
But Medicare Prescription Drug Plans that have “enhanced alternative coverage” included in their benefits might cover some vitamins and supplements. Enhanced alternative coverage means the plan’s formulary contains additional items that exceeds standard Medicare Part D coverage.
You may want to contact your plan to find out if it offers enhanced alternative coverage and what, if any, prescription vitamins and supplements are covered.
A plan’s formulary may change at any time. You will receive notice from your plan when necessary.