According to a new report testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may soon be covered by Medicare plans for the elderly. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that they are considering adding these tests as part of standard Medicare health insurance plans. At present the national health insurance program already pays for HIV tests. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials are expected to announce a draft decision by August 24.
The testing would cover the most common sexually transmitted diseases including hepatitis B, syphilis, and others. Testing would be accompanied by sexual health counseling according to the reports.
Health officials feel that this would be a strong move for Medicare, especially considering that elderly people in the U.S. are sexually active later in life, far more than they have been in prior decades. They add that early screening and preventive care can cost less in the long run by avoiding complications that can arise from delayed treatment. In this case, it could also help prevent the spread of infection to others. Americans are living longer, and Medicare’s report comes after researchers find older Americans increasingly remaining sexually active. Nearly 39 million Americans age 65 and older are covered under the insurance program as well as 7.6 million disabled.