Does Medicare Pay for Light Therapy for SAD?
Light-box therapy is a widely accepted treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. However, the treatment is not covered for the nearly 40 million Americans who rely on Medicare for health-care coverage as of 2009.SADSAD is characterized by depression caused by variations of sunlight throughout the year. A hormone called melatonin is produced in darkened conditions—such as the gloomy winter months—and is related to the disorder. Serotonin, a chemical in the brain that alters mood, also might cause SAD.Light TherapyTo reduce the body’s production of melatonin, SAD patients sit in front of a light-therapy box for several hours. The treatment, also known as phototherapy, does not interfere with everyday activities.MedicareAlthough Medicare does not pay for light therapy for SAD patients, it will pay for depression medication, according to Natalie Rivera at 1-800-Medicare. Consult your physician about which Medicare-covered anti-depressants will effectively work for you.OptionsE