Does Medicare cover bone density test?

Looking for answers about whether Medicare covers bone density tests? Medicare Part B will cover bone density test costs if you meet certain requirements and if you get the test performed by a doctor or another qualified healthcare provider. We will cover everything you need to know about bone density tests that are covered by Medicare in this article. Learn more.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jan 20, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Medicare Part B covers bone density tests once every 24-months, or more often if deemed to be medically necessary.
  • Bone density tests can determine how at-risk you are of breaking a bone.
  • Bone density tests can also help to determine if you are exhibiting signs of osteoporosis or osteopenia.

A bone density test can be used to detect and ascertain how at-risk you are of breaking a bone, or if you are showing signs of developing bone disease. Medicare will cover the costs of a bone density test in most cases. In the cases where Medicare won’t cover the costs of a bone density test, then your health insurance provider might.

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What portion of Medicare covers bone density tests?

Medicare Part B will cover the cost of a bone density test once every 24-month period if it is ordered by a doctor for medically necessary reasons. Medicare Part B will also cover the cost of a bone density test more frequently if your doctor thinks it is medically necessary.

For example, if your doctor uses the osteoporosis ICD 10 medical code to order the bone density test, this would be a scan that is medically necessary more frequently than the 24-month period.

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What is a bone density scan?

A bone density test uses two different X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are present in a specific group of bones. The bones that are most commonly tested with a bone density scare are the bones of the spine and the hip bones.

How do doctors perform a bone density test?

During a bone density test, your doctor will have you lie down on your back on a padded exam table. Depending on what bones are being scanned, you might need to rest your legs on a padded raised platform.

During the bone density scan, a scanning machine will pass over the area of your body that is being tested. At the same time, another machine will pass underneath the table that you are on. These two machines will send what they are seeing to a computer that your doctor is watching. While the two machines are scanning you, your doctor will instruct you to stay as still as possible.

In closing

Under most circumstances, Medicare will cover the cost of a bone density test. Many health insurance plans will also cover any related costs, matching what Medicare will pay.

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