To say that the U.S. healthcare industry is complicated is an understatement.
From myriad insurance options to different tiers within each program and laundry lists of benefits, it can be confusing as both a consumer and a practitioner to wade through the various intricacies of this industry – especially if you have specific questions about insurance coverage.
That’s why we are going to answer a common question we’ve heard over the years in this article: Are gloves covered by Medicare?
The short answer is: No.
The longer answer is: Yes and no.
But first, let’s quickly clarify what Medicare is since many people often confuse both Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicare vs. Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid are both government-run and government-funded healthcare programs which serve different populations. Medicare is a federal insurance program designed for:
- People who are 65 or older
- Certain younger people with disabilities
- People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD)
Meanwhile, Medicaid is a state and federal insurance program that provides health coverage to low-income and moderate-income individuals. It’s important to note that people can qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare.
Medicare Parts A, B, C & D
Original Medicare is split into two main parts: Part A and Part B.
- Part A is considered Hospital Insurance, which pays for inpatient hospital stays in skilled nursing facilities, known as SNFs; hospice care; and some home health care.
- Part B is considered Medical Insurance and covers outpatient care, medical supplies, doctors’ services, and preventive services.
Outside of Part and B – which are both included in Original Medicare – there are two other parts: Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D.
- Part C (Medicare Advantage) is an opt-in plan that gives consumers the ability to receive benefits from a private insurance company instead of the federal government. These insurance companies are essentially private contractors with Medicare.
- Part D covers prescription drugs for Original Medicare and other plans and services.
Are Gloves Covered by Medicare?
If you start looking through the different services and supplies covered under Part A and Part B, you’ll often see vague listings like “other hospital listings and supplies” or “medical supplies and equipment used in the facility.”
Are gloves included in these unclear statements?
They are not. Medicare does not cover disposable vinyl, nitrile, latex, TPE, or CPE gloves under Parts A or B.
But rubber gloves are covered under Part B when they’re classified as self-dialysis equipment and supplies for ESRD patients under Medicare Part B.
Other Coverage Options
So, if non-rubber gloves aren’t covered by Medicare, are there other options out there?
The good news is that there are other options. Some state Medicaid programs do provide coverage for over-the-counter supplies like disposable gloves. To find out if gloves are covered under Medicaid in your state, you will want to check with your state Medicaid program to confirm this.
Additionally, some Medicare Part C programs include gloves in their coverage.
Lastly, outside insurance plans and other non-Medicare and non-Medicaid programs cover gloves as well. You will just need to speak with your insurance company to see if gloves are included as items under your plan.