Do Medicare cover Viagra for erectile dysfunction? No it do not. (But sometimes it get screwed anyway.)
One of the ways I stay on the top of the Medicare industry is by using Google Alerts to monitor the Internet for information about Medicare benefits and regulations. Each day I receive about three or four email updates from Google Alerts, which include links to news articles, blog posts, and miscellaneous Web content.
Although the news articles and blogs are always legitimate, the links under the miscellaneous Web category are almost always spam, with such gramatically-incorrect headlines as “Do medicare cover viagra?” or “Get you cialis with Medicare.” Inevitably, the links take me to some article or advertisement that has nothing to do with either erectile dysfunction (ED) or Medicare.
Just in case anyone is still falling for this spam, Medicare does not cover ED drugs – for the most part.
According to P.L. No. 109-91, section 103, amended section 1860D-2(e)(2)(A) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), the Medicare Part D program does not cover ED drugs “when used for the treatment of sexual or erectile dysfunction.” But here’s the catch (of course there’s a catch; we’re talking about Medicare): ED drugs such as Cialis®, Viagra®, and Levitra® are covered by Part D when prescribed for medically accepted indications other than sexual or erectile dysfunction (such as pulmonary hypertension).
Medicare has been screwed to the tune of $3 million
According to a March 2011 report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), of approximately $133 billion in gross drug costs for the years 2007 and 2008, Medicare covered more than $3 million in drug costs for ED drugs approved for the treatment of sexual or erectile dysfunction. Part D should not have covered these drugs.
Based on the findings of the study, titled “Review of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs in the Medicare Part D Program,” the OIG recommended the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) maintain a comprehensive list of ED drugs that have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of sexual or erectile dysfunction. The OIG also recommended CMS distribute this list to all Medicare Part D plan sponsors.
Although this news is two years old, so far I have yet to see this comprehensive list of ED drugs. I also haven’t seen any more reports of Medicare mistakenly covering these drugs. Hopefully this means that CMS has its act together despite the lack of a list. But then again, maybe these spammers who keep cropping up on my Google Alerts know something we don’t know.