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Does Medicare Pay for Antivenom?

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By Daniel Petkevich
Dec 6, 2022

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Note: if you are experiencing a medical emergency, contact 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

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One of the most rare but most costly expenses you could find yourself saddled with after an outdoor excursion is an antivenom to treat a poisonous bite. This potentially lifesaving treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Will Medicare help pay for it? Yes, Medicare covers necessary healthcare expenses, and antivenom is no exception.

What is antivenom?

Antivenom is made of antibodies created from a poisonous animal's venom. It's an effective treatment for bites or stings from spiders, scorpions, snakes, and other potentially deadly creatures. As soon as possible after the bite or sting occurs, patients should seek medical attention right away to reduce symptoms and prevent further health complications.

How do you know if a venomous snake or insect has bitten you?

Many venomous creatures have distinct physical characteristics that can help you identify them. Snakes, for example, may have a triangular head and a patterned body or yellowish eyes. Scorpions may be identified by their long tail with a stinger on the end. Spiders may have an hourglass-shaped design on their back. However, not all venomous creatures are easy to identify, so if you feel pain or discomfort after a bite or sting, seek medical help immediately.

What are the costs associated with getting treatment for a snake bite?

The cost of antivenom treatment can vary depending on the type of venom and how much antivenom is needed. Generally, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars for a single dose, but some treatments may require multiple doses. Additionally, there are other costs associated with getting treated for snake bites, such as hospitalization fees, laboratory tests, and doctor visits.

Does Medicare cover the cost of antivenom?

Yes, Medicare Part A or B will cover the necessary costs of treating a venomous bite or sting, including antivenom. Specifically, Part A will be your source of coverage if you are admitted as an inpatient in an emergency room setting. If you are quickly released as an outpatient, Part B covers 80 percent of the costs associated with medically necessary treatments related to a venomous bite or sting. However, you may need to provide some out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays and coinsurance.
It's important to remember that Medicare coverage for antivenom may vary depending on the type of venom you were exposed to and your overall health. Be sure to contact your local Medicare office for more information about specific coverage details.

How to get help if you're bitten by a snake while traveling in the United States:

If you're bitten by a venomous snake while traveling in the United States, contact 911 immediately and seek medical attention. Medicare will cover your necessary healthcare costs related to the bite or sting, including transportation to an emergency facility if needed. Additionally, Medicare also covers all medically necessary treatments related to the incident, including antivenom.

What to do if you're bitten by a snake while traveling abroad:

If you're bitten by a venomous snake while traveling abroad, contact the nearest medical facility right away. Medicare does not typically cover medically necessary treatments for injuries or illnesses that occur outside of the United States, except for medical emergency situations. You may also want to contact your travel insurance provider to see what kinds of coverage they may offer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, antivenom is a vital treatment for venomous bites and stings. Medicare covers the necessary costs associated with this treatment, but it's important to keep in mind that coverage details may vary depending on your situation. This content is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions about Medicare coverage, give us a call at Fair Square Medicare.

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