May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, making now a good time to reexamine the coverage Medicare provides for this chronic illness: from osteoporosis screenings to prescription drugs and treatment.
Coverage under Medicare Part B includes a bone density test (aka bone mass measurement) once every 24 months for those who meet certain criteria. The test is free if your doctor accepts the assignment. Medicare Part B also helps cover injectable osteoporosis drugs for women who are eligible for the Medicare home health nurse benefit, though their doctor needs to verify that the condition is related to post-menopausal osteoporosis. Patients pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the prescription drug cost as applied by Medicare Part B’s deductible.
Prevention, of course, is key in battling Osteoporosis. According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis contributes to becoming immobilized and disabled, should you fall and have a fracture or as the vertebral bodies collapse. It is estimated that 54 million Americans over age 50 are affected by low bone mass or osteoporosis, putting them at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to poor senior health and reduced quality of life. By the year 2020, the NOF believes that number will rise to 64.4 million. Here are some alarming facts from the National Osteoporosis Foundation and International Osteoporosis Foundation:
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