Medicare Blog

medicare how often does it allow bone density scan

by Ralph Walker Published 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago

once every 24 months

When to stop DEXA scan?

Bone density testing with dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at unspecified intervals in women ages 65 and over.+ Vision loss. No recommendation. *Screening may stop in women over age 65 who have had "adequate recent screenings" and are not at high risk for cervical cancer.

Does Medicare cover a DEXA scan?

Medicare Part B usually covers the costs associated with a DEXA scan. Part B is the branch of Medicare that provides coverage benefits for medically-necessary outpatient procedures to help treat an ongoing illness.

What diagnosis will Medicare cover for a DEXA scan?

Medicare Part B* (Medical Insurance) covers bone density test (DXA) as part of preventive screening once every 24 months (or more often if medically necessary) if you meet one or more of these conditions: You’re a woman whose doctor determines you’re estrogen deficient and at risk for osteoporosis, based on your medical history and other findings.

Does Medicare cover bone density tests?

Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage generally cover bone density testing and other bone mass measurements once every 24 months. However, Medicare may approve coverage for more frequent testing in the following situations: You’re undergoing osteoporosis drug therapy.


How often should you have a bone density test after age 65?

Women 65 years and older with normal bone mass or mild bone loss can have a test every 15 years. More frequent testing is recommended for women in this age group with T-scores between -1.5 and -2.49.

Does Medicare pay for bone density?

Bone mass measurements (also called bone density tests) can help determine if you need medical treatment for osteoporosis, a condition that can cause brittle bones in older adults. Medicare Part B covers bone mass measurement every two years if you are at risk for osteoporosis and have a referral from your provider.

Is bone density test considered preventive care?

Preventive care is recommended to ensure you stay healthy. Bone density tests or bone mass measurements are a type of preventive care doctors often recommend to diagnose osteoporosis.

Can you get a DEXA scan every year?

Medicare allows a DEXA scan to be done once every two years, and this is the current recommended timeframe. There are exceptions to this rule if you have certain diseases. Your healthcare provider will consider several factors, such as your age, level of fracture risk, previous DEXA scan and current medications.

What ICD 10 code covers DEXA scan for Medicare 2021?

ICD-10 CM code Z79. 83 should be reported for DXA testing while taking medicines for osteoporosis/osteopenia. ICD-10 CM code Z09 should be reported for an individual who has COMPLETED drug therapy for osteoporosis and is being monitored for response to therapy.

Is DEXA bone scan covered by Medicare?

In most cases, Medicare insurance does cover DEXA scans under Part B. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) provides benefits for outpatient procedures that are deemed medically necessary for ongoing treatment of illness.

At what age should you stop getting bone density tests?

Many people get a bone-density test every few years. The main reason to have the test is to find and treat serious bone loss. But most men, and women under age 65, probably don't need the test.

Should a 90 year old have a bone density test?

Bone density tests are recommended for all women age 65 and older, and for younger women at higher-than-normal risk for a fracture. Men may want to discuss osteoporosis screening with their doctor if they're over age 70 or at high risk for thinning bones.

What is the average cost of a bone density scan?

How Much Does a Bone Density DXA Scan Cost? On MDsave, the cost of a Bone Density DXA Scan ranges from $100 to $383.

How often should you repeat a DEXA scan?

Don't routinely repeat DXA scans more often than once every two years. Initial screening for osteoporosis should be performed according to National Osteoporosis Foundation recommendations.

What is the difference between a DEXA scan and a bone density test?

A bone density test, also referred to as a DEXA scan, is a noninvasive test that measures calcium and other minerals in your bones. It measures the strength and thickness, or mass, of your bones. As we age, bones naturally become thinner. Osteopenia occurs when bones are thinner than normal.

What codes are covered by Medicare for a DEXA scan?

Medicare covers DXA Bone Densitometry for certain Medicare beneficiaries who fall into at least one of the following categories: 1.)...Updated DXA Policy for Medicare Patients.Z78.0Asymptomatic menopausal stateZ87.310Personal history of (healed) osteoporosis fracture4 more rows•Mar 6, 2017

What to expect from bone density test?

What to Expect. Bone density tests are painless and don’t require much preparation. Aside from avoiding calcium supplements 24 hours in advance, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. Several bone density tests use ultrasound, urine tests, and X-rays or some form of radiation, such as: DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry)

What is a woman at risk for osteoporosis?

A woman at risk for osteoporosis and is estrogen deficient. A person whose X-rays show possible osteoporosis, osteopenia, or vertebral fractures. A person taking prednisone or steroid-type medications, or is planning to take them. A person diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism.

Can you get a hyperparathyroid test with Medicare?

The test may be ordered more often if your physician deems it medically necessary. If you have Original Medicare, you will pay nothing for this test as long as your doctor accepts assignment.

Can osteoporosis cause brittle bones?

Osteoporosis can cause brittle, thinning bones as we age, but bone mass measurements, also known as bone density tests, can determine if you are at risk of fractures. Bone density tests can identify a decrease in bone density before you suffer a break, confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and monitor treatment of osteoporosis, ...

How often does Medicare cover bone density?

Because certain conditions put you at a higher risk for bone problems and related injuries, Medicare covers bone density testing once every 24 months. You may qualify for more frequent testing if you have any of the following conditions, which could lead to decreased bone density: rheumatoid arthritis. chronic kidney disease.

How long has it been since your last bone density scan?

It’s been 23 months since your last bone density scan or you have a condition that needs more frequent testing. The facility where the scan is done accepts Medicare. To check whether a medical facility participates in Medicare, click here.

What is bone density?

A bone density test is an imaging study that uses a small amount of ionized radiation and an X-ray machine to measure the strength of your bones. Also called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), this test allows your doctor to measure the amount of minerals — like calcium — in your bones.

Do you have to have a bone density test if you have Medicare?

If you need to have a bone density test more often, your doctor will have to provide proof of a reason for more frequent testing. You may be asked to have your test done within a certain network if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. If you go outside your network, you may have to pay a share of the testing cost.

Does Medicare Advantage match Part A?

Medicare Advantage (Part C) must match the coverage of original Medicare (Part A and Part B). However, each plan may have its own requirements on where you can be tested and how much your share of the cost will be.

Can a radiology doctor perform a bone density scan?

Most outpatient facilities with radiology services can perform a bone density scan. This may be: The basic conditions for coverage are: Your doctor has ordered the scan as a medically necessary test. It’s been 23 months since your last bone density scan or you have a condition that needs more frequent testing.

How many hip fractures are found in men?

One-third of fractures of the hips are found in men, while women make up about two-thirds of hip fractures around the world. This condition usually peaks in people over the age of 50 years old. Several things commonly come into play with individuals who are affected by osteoporosis.

What conditions are required for X-rays?

It’s necessary if you meet a minimum of one of the following conditions: X-rays show the potential of osteoporosis, fractures, or osteopenia. You’re on prednisone or other steroid medications. You’re a female, and your doctor has deemed you as estrogen-deficient. You have hyperparathyroidism.

What are the factors that contribute to osteoporosis?

Some of the most significant fundamental factors are: 1 Gender and Race – Caucasian and Asian women with small body frames tend to have a higher chance of facing this condition. 2 Habits – Studies show that people using an excess of alcohol, cigarette smoking, lack of calcium, infrequent exercise, and heavy caffeine intake can lead to the onset of osteoporosis. 3 General Health – If a person deals with poor health and lack of nutrition, they may find themselves more susceptible to osteoporosis. 4 Hormones – Menopause or a hysterectomy can cause osteoporosis because of lower estrogen levels. 5 Chronic Conditions – Several chronic conditions can negatively impact your bones, like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Hepatitis C.

Can caffeine cause osteoporosis?

Habits – Studies show that people using an excess of alcohol, cigarette smoking, lack of calcium, infrequent exercise, and heavy caffeine intake can lead to the onset of osteoporosis. General Health – If a person deals with poor health and lack of nutrition, they may find themselves more susceptible to osteoporosis.

Can you get bone density test with Medicare?

As long as your doctor accept s Medicare Assignment, you will pay nothing out of pocket for this test with Original Medicare.

How often does Medicare cover bone mass?

Medicare Part B is the Medicare portion responsible for paying for a bone mass measurement test. Medicare will cover a test once every 24 months for a preventive screening if they meet the following requirements: a doctor certifies a woman is at risk for osteoporosis due to estrogen deficiency or medical history.

What is bone density scan?

izusek/Getty Images. If a doctor thinks a person may have osteoporosis, they may ask for a bone density scan, which uses an X-ray to measure bone mineral density. The test may be done in a hospital setting or by using a mobile device. In general, a person will get the hospital test for a hip or spine X-ray, while the mobile test is done on ...

Why do doctors check for osteoporosis?

a doctor certifies a woman is at risk for osteoporosis due to estrogen deficiency or medical history. a person’s X-ray shows signs of osteoporosis, osteopenia, or fractured vertebrae. a person has been taking medications known to affect bone health, including prednisone or other steroid-type medications.

Why do people need bone density tests?

a person is undergoing osteoporosis treatments, and a person requires a bone density test to track their treatment’s effectiveness. A person may also qualify for more frequent bone density scans if a doctor declares the tests medically necessary.

How long does it take to get a bone density test?

A person does not need to do or wear anything special to get the test, and the entire scan typically takes 15 minutes or less.

What is Medicare Part C?

Part C: Part C is Medicare Advantage, which is where a private insurance company covers a person’s Part A, Part B, and sometimes Part D benefits. Medicare requires these plans to cover all the benefits that Original Medicare offers, which would include bone scans. A person may pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part C.

What is a pre-authorization check?

Sometimes, a doctor’s office may help a person conduct this check, which is also called a pre-authorization. This process can ensure the doctor accepts assignment and ensures they will not provide services that Medicare does not cover and that a person is then responsible for paying.

Does Medicare Cover Bone Density Testing?

Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage generally cover bone density testing and other bone mass measurements once every 24 months. However, Medicare may approve coverage for more frequent testing in the following situations:

How Much Does Medicare Cover for Bone Density Testing?

If bone density testing is done on an outpatient basis, it may be fully covered under Medicare Part B. To ensure that you’ll incur no out-of-pocket costs, the test must be deemed medically necessary by the prescribing physician and performed at a Medicare-approved facility.

What Is Bone Density Testing?

Bone density testing, which is sometimes referred to as bone densitometry or DEXA, is a type of imaging that measures how many bone minerals, including grams of calcium, are in a section of bone (typically the spine, hip or forearm). A higher concentration of mineral content means denser, stronger bones, which are generally less likely to break.

How Is Bone Density Testing Done?

Bone density testing is typically done in a clinical setting such as a hospital or an outpatient facility. After putting on a loose gown, you’ll be asked to lie on a padded platform. A suspended mechanical arm then passes over parts of your body, taking images of your skeleton.

How Accurate Are Bone Density Tests Done at Health Fairs?

Health care providers may offer free bone density testing at health fairs and other off-site events. These tests, which are done using small, portable imaging devices, measure the mineral composition of the bones in your extremities, which may include a finger, wrist or heel.

Are Bone Density Testing and Bone Scans the Same?

No. Bone scans fall into the category of nuclear imaging. These diagnostic tools are typically used to detect cancer, infections, existing fractures and other bone abnormalities.

What Can Contribute to Bone Loss?

Bone loss often happens as a natural part of the aging process, but other factors may increase an individual’s risk of osteoporosis. These may include:

Bone density screenings help diagnose mineral loss that increases your risk of fractures and other injuries

Preventive screenings are an important part of staying healthy. These tests are performed to identify potential medical problems early, when they are easier to treat or manage. Many are covered by Medicare.

What is a bone density test?

Also known as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and bone mass measurement screening, bone density tests are performed by your doctor to help measure the amount of minerals in your bones.

Is a bone density test covered by Medicare?

Yes, bone mass measurement scans are covered once every 24 months by Medicare Part B if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, which affects about 54 million Americans, is a disease in bones that happens when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Bones that lose density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure are less dense, making them weaker and more likely to break from a fall or other injury.

Osteoporosis risk factors

There are many risk factors that increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, some of which are within your control and others are not.

Osteoporosis symptoms

Osteoporosis doesn't have many symptoms because you don't feel your bones weakening. Typically, the first sign of osteoporosis is breaking a bone. You may also notice you're getting shorter, your upper back is curving forward, or you're experiencing height loss.

Treatment for osteoporosis

If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will recommend treatment depending on your risk of breaking a bone. If you're at high risk, they may recommend medications. If you're lower risk, you may instead focus on modifying risk factors that are in your control.

What are the risk factors for DXA?

With any one of these factors, your insurance company should cover a DXA. 1) Early menopause (before age 40) 2) Adults with a prior low-impact fracture. 3) Adults with a disease or condition ...

Does Medicare cover bone density?

Medicare coverage. Medicare will pay for a bone density test (DXA) as part of preventive screening every two years for women 65 or older and men 70 or older. Many insurance providers will cover the test under certain circumstances.

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