Diet and Exercise Covered by Medicare (but not for DCs)
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 02:22 PM

Medpage Today reports that Medicare will pay for visits to a luxurious spa.  The story originated with a note from the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa's PR representative that reported "Luxurious days at a Miami spa, and 'qualifying guests can have their trip covered by Medicare.'"

What the author learned was that Medicare reimburses spa visits for Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (ICR), which is similar to cardiac rehabilitation programs covered regularly outside the spa.  Patients are covered by Medicare for one stint in cardiac rehab, at Pritikin or elsewhere, per "heart event" such as an acute myocardial infaraction or a stent. "Covered" doesn't necessarily mean "completely covered," however.   On average, Medicare covers roughly half of the $9,300 bill for the two-week treatment. 

In principle, the program is good, said one cardiologist, because of its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and legumes -- similar to the Mediteranean diet, but there's a key difference beyond the diet.  "It also emphasizes daily aerobic exercise as part of the overall diet plan.  By promoting these types of diets we stand to see a substantial cost savings. For that reason I believe that well-supported, well-supervised diet programs should be covered by insurance plans such as Medicare."

And they should be covered for ALL qualified providers [Editor]