Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy?

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Russell Noga
by Russell Noga | Updated January 17th, 2024

Medicare coverage can be slightly confusing, particularly when it comes to understanding specific coverage aspects like hormone therapy. There’s a myriad of questions one might ask.

Does Medicare cover hormone therapy? What types of hormone therapies are covered?

How to deal with coverage denial? Being able to answer these questions can offer peace of mind and better preparation for the journey ahead.

As a group of individuals who have personally experienced the intricacies of the Medicare system, we understand the challenges that come with it. Hence, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide that illuminates the policies surrounding Medicare’s coverage for hormone therapy.

We want to empower you to make informed decisions about your healthcare.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare covers medically necessary hormone therapy for both men and women, but coverage specifics can vary based on therapy type, the reason for therapy, and the individual’s specific Medicare plan, including whether Parts B, D or Medicare Advantage are involved.


  • Medicare Part B generally covers the administration of certain hormone treatments and related tests, but not self-administered drugs, which are often covered under Medicare Part D prescription drug plans based on their formulary listings.


  • Additional financial support options, such as the Extra Help program and State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, may be available to eligible individuals to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for hormone therapy medications.



Understanding Medicare and Hormone Therapy Coverage


Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy? Understanding Medicare and Hormone Therapy Coverage


Hormone therapy is a significant course of treatment for a variety of conditions, such as menopause. One frequently asked question is if Medicare covers hormone therapy. The answer, quite simply, is yes.

Medicare offers coverage for medically necessary hormone therapy for both men and women. This coverage is intended to support individuals in accessing the healthcare they need.

However, the specifics of this coverage can vary based on several factors:

  • The type of hormone therapy is prescribed
  • The reason for the hormone therapy (e.g., menopause)
  • The individual’s specific Medicare plan


It is important to consult with your healthcare provider and review your Medicare plan to understand the details of how it may cover hormone therapy.

To qualify for Medicare coverage of hormone replacement therapy, ensure you have a Medicare Advantage plan that can cover hormone replacement therapy, featuring prescription drug coverage, or a stand-alone Part D plan. This coverage is necessary for accessing the medication needed for hormone replacement therapy.

These plans offer coverage for hormone therapy drugs, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs. However, the cost of hormone replacement therapy under Medicare can vary depending on the type of plan one is enrolled in, with some plans having zero out-of-pocket costs and others having copays or coinsurance.


The Role of Medicare Part B in Hormone Therapy

Medicare Part B, often referred to as medical insurance, plays a specific role in hormone therapy coverage. It covers the administration of certain hormones, as well as necessary tests related to hormone therapy.

Specifically, Medicare Part B medicare covers medically the administration of estrogen and progestin, which are commonly used in menopausal hormone therapy, as well as bone density tests if deemed medically necessary.

However, it’s important to note that not all medications are covered under Medicare Part B. In most cases, medications that you administer yourself, such as oral medications or self-injected drugs, are not covered.

Hence, it becomes vital to engage in a detailed conversation with your healthcare provider to grasp what is covered and what’s not, for more accurate financial planning.


Prescription Drug Plans: Medicare Part D’s Involvement

While Medicare Part B covers some aspects of hormone therapy, Medicare Part D fills in the gap by offering prescription drug coverage, which includes hormone therapy medications. This comes with varying premiums and copays, which can significantly affect the overall cost of hormone therapy.

This coverage helps answer a common question: Does Medicare pay for hormone therapy medications?

Certain hormone therapy drugs, such as those listed on the formulary, may be eligible for coverage under Medicare Part D. For instance, plans that incorporate Part D may provide coverage for medications like Estrace.

It’s vital that you scrutinize your plan’s formulary to pinpoint exactly which medications are encompassed. If you need additional support or information, you can reach out to knowledgeable insurance agents who can guide you in identifying the most suitable plan based on your requirements.


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Coverage Specifics for Different Types of Hormone Therapy


Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy? Coverage Specifics for Different Types of Hormone Therapy


Delving deeper into the intricacies of hormone therapy coverage reveals that not all therapy types are equally covered. There are many forms of hormone therapy, and their coverage under Medicare can vary.

For instance, while Medicare provides coverage for medically necessary hormone therapy, it generally does not cover bioidentical hormone therapy under Part D.

Estrogen therapy is the predominant form of hormone therapy for menopause and is available in two standardized types: localized and systemic.

The method of hormone replacement therapy delivery can also vary and include oral medication, a patch, or a prescription cream, tablet, or ring for vaginal administration. Understanding these specifics can help you navigate your Medicare coverage more effectively.


Does Medicare Cover Bioidentical Hormones?

One question that often arises is whether Medicare covers bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are not covered by Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B, as these plans do not include medication coverage.

However, bioidentical hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen may be covered under standalone Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Part C programs that offer prescription coverage.

However, for Medicare Part D and Part C programs to cover bioidentical hormones, it’s a prerequisite that the therapy is for a qualifying medical condition and is deemed medically necessary by a certified physician. Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider to ensure eligibility for coverage.


Estrogen Therapy and Medicare: What to Know

Estrogen therapy is a commonly prescribed form of hormone therapy, particularly for menopausal women. If you’re undergoing estrogen therapy, it’s important to understand how it relates to Medicare coverage.

Medicare coverage for estrogen therapy can depend on the specific medication and formulary, and it may be included in Medicare Part B, D, or Medicare Advantage plans.

Additionally, the majority of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for estrogen patches. Certain MAPD and Part C plans may also provide coverage for Estrace, a form of estrogen used in hormone therapy.

As always, it is imperative to scrutinize your plan’s formulary to comprehend the specifics of your coverage.


Medicare Advantage: A Comprehensive Option for Hormone Therapy?


Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy? Medicare Advantage: A Comprehensive Option for Hormone Therapy?


As we navigate the landscape of hormone therapy and Medicare coverage, it’s worth considering Medicare Advantage as a comprehensive option for hormone therapy. Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Original Medicare, offering the same benefits but often with additional features, such as prescription drug coverage, which can be particularly beneficial for those undergoing hormone therapy.

When Medicare Advantage plans incorporate prescription drug coverage or are combined with a Part D plan, they provide coverage for hormone therapy.

This coverage encompasses crucial hormone therapies for conditions such as menopause and medically essential treatment for transgender individuals. However, the specifics of coverage can vary by plan, so it’s crucial to thoroughly review your plan’s details.


How Medicare Advantage Plans Expand Coverage

Medicare Advantage plans can offer an expanded scope of coverage for hormone therapy, which can be a significant advantage for those undergoing such treatment. These plans often include prescription drug coverage, making them a potential option for hormone therapy coverage.

In addition to prescription coverage, Medicare Advantage plans may encompass services like the provision of estrogen and progestin for menopausal hormone therapy and bone density tests. Coverage specifics can vary by plan, making it essential to peruse your plan’s formulary for details.

This can give you a clearer picture of your coverage and help you make informed decisions about your healthcare.


Finding the Right Medicare Advantage Plan for Your Needs

Choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan for your hormone therapy needs can feel overwhelming. However, it’s an important step in ensuring you have the coverage you need.

When selecting a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s imperative to consider plans that offer prescription drug coverage, a crucial aspect of hormone therapy coverage.

Additionally, consider other benefits offered by the plan. For instance, Therapy Management services can be especially helpful for managing hormone therapy.

The right plan can make a significant difference in your hormone therapy experience, providing the coverage you need while potentially saving you money.


Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy?

Additional Financial Support for Hormone Therapy Under Medicare


Does Medicare Cover Hormone Therapy? Additional Financial Support for Hormone Therapy Under Medicare


While Medicare can provide significant coverage for hormone therapy, there may be additional financial support options available. These can help further reduce out-of-pocket costs, making hormone therapy more accessible.

Two such options are the Extra Help program and state pharmaceutical assistance programs, both of which can offer significant assistance for those undergoing hormone therapy.

Under Medicare, the Extra Help program provides hormone therapy medication coverage, with certain individuals qualifying to pay as little as $0 for these medications. Meanwhile, state pharmaceutical assistance programs can offer supplementary financial assistance for hormone therapy within Medicare, especially in relation to Medicare Part D coverage.

By exploring these additional support options, you can potentially reduce your hormone therapy costs.


Understanding the Extra Help Program

The Medicare Extra Help program is designed to provide financial assistance for hormone therapy medications to individuals with limited income and resources. It’s a valuable resource that can greatly reduce the financial burden of hormone therapy.

To qualify for the Extra Help program, the income limit for 2022 is $20,385 for an individual or $27,465 for a married couple living together. From 2024, eligibility for the full Extra Help benefit will be extended to individuals with up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The application can be submitted online through Social Security at

The program has the potential to save an individual approximately $5,000 per year on hormone therapy medications.


Exploring State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs

State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) can be a valuable resource for those seeking financial assistance with hormone therapy costs. These state-run programs are designed to provide additional support, potentially offering discounted prices for prescription drugs, including hormone replacement therapy.

The eligibility requirements for SPAPs vary by state, as the programs are state-run and tailored to assist specific populations with prescription costs. The application process varies by state, but in general, individuals can sign up for these programs through the CMS website.

Approximately half of the states in the US provide Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, making them a potentially valuable resource for those undergoing hormone therapy.


Specific Hormone Therapy Considerations

Hormone therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. Its application can vary significantly based on gender, with different considerations for different types of hormone therapy.

Understanding these specific considerations can provide a more comprehensive picture of what to expect when it comes to Medicare coverage for hormone therapy.

Prevalent forms of menopausal hormone therapies encompass pills like:

  • Cenestin®
  • Estinyl®
  • Estrace®
  • Menest®
  • Ogen®
  • Premarin®
  • Femtrace®

The costs for these therapies generally range from $20 per month to $500 for 1 ring.

On the other hand, Medicare provides coverage for hormone therapy for all medicare beneficiaries who medically need it.


Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Medicare

Menopausal hormone therapy is a common form of treatment for women undergoing menopause, with medications like estrogen and progesterone commonly used to manage symptoms. Medicare may provide coverage for these therapies through Part D or Medicare Advantage plans, depending on the specific medication and formulary.

However, it’s key to understand that coverage isn’t equal for all menopausal hormone therapies. For instance, while Medicare provides coverage for medically necessary hormone therapy, it generally does not cover bioidentical hormone therapy under Part D.

However, bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone may be covered under standalone Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Part C programs that offer prescription coverage.

Navigating Appeals: What If Medicare Denies Coverage?

Unfortunately, there may be instances where Medicare denies coverage for hormone therapy. This can be a stressful and challenging situation, but it’s important to know that there are options available.

You have the right to appeal their decision. This process can be kick-started by:

  • Submitting an exception request independently
  • Submitting an exception request through your prescriber
  • Submitting an exception request via a representative


The appeal process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and resources, it’s entirely navigable. Whether you’re starting the appeal process or seeking assistance with your appeal, there are resources available to help guide you through the process and increase your chances of a successful appeal.


Starting the Appeal Process

If you find yourself facing a denial of coverage for hormone therapy, the first step in the appeal process is to submit an exception request. This can be done by you or your doctor, demonstrating that the requested drug is medically necessary for your treatment.

If the exception request is unsuccessful, you can initiate the formal appeal process by following the guidelines outlined in the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN).

During the appeal process, you reserve the right to appoint an authorized representative, such as a family member, attorney, or advocate, to oversee your Medicare appeal. This individual can act on your behalf throughout the appeal process, offering support and guidance when you need it most.


Seeking Assistance with Your Appeal

Going through the appeal process alone can pose a challenge. That’s why reaching out for assistance can be incredibly beneficial.

Medicare advocates can offer support and guidance, helping you with:

  • Collecting essential documentation
  • Crafting a compelling appeal letter
  • Navigating the OMHA e-Appeal Portal for the electronic submission of appeal requests and document uploads.


Legal aid organizations can also be a valuable resource during the appeal process. These organizations offer pro bono legal support to individuals in need of assistance with their appeals, potentially facing the loss of their Medicare benefits.

By leveraging these resources, you can navigate the appeal process more effectively and increase your chances of a successful appeal.


Navigating the landscape of Medicare coverage for hormone therapy can seem daunting, but understanding how the system works can go a long way in easing the journey.

From understanding the roles of Medicare Part B and D to exploring the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans, being aware of your options can empower you to make informed decisions about your healthcare.

Whether you’re undergoing menopausal hormone therapy or exploring additional financial support options like the Extra Help program or State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, knowledge is power.

Remember, if you ever face a denial of coverage, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Armed with these insights, you can navigate your hormone therapy journey with confidence and peace of mind.




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Frequently Asked Questions


  Does Medicare pay for hormone shots?

Yes, Medicare covers medically necessary hormone therapy. This therapy is part of Medicare Part D’s list of covered medications and should be covered when prescribed.

Coverage amounts and eligibility is dependent on which Medicare Part D prescription drug plan you enroll in.


  What is the average price of hormone therapy?

The average price of hormone therapy ranges between $200 to $500 per month, covering medications, customized plans, and follow-up appointments, and may vary based on individual plans and insurance coverage.


  Is HRT for menopause covered by Medicare?

No, Medicare Part A and Part B generally do not cover hormone therapy for menopause, but you can get coverage through a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan from a private insurance company.


  Why is hormone therapy not covered by insurance?

Bioidentical hormone therapies are not often covered by insurance because they are not FDA-approved. You can contact your insurer directly to determine if you will get coverage for BHRT.


  What roles do Medicare Part B and D play in hormone therapy coverage?

Medicare Part B covers hormone administration and related tests, while Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage, including hormone therapy medications. This ensures comprehensive coverage for hormone therapy.

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