As we get older, we need to begin looking after more aspects of our health than we did in our younger years. One example of this is our bones. More specifically, we need to make sure that our bones are strong enough to support our weight and the tasks that we perform while living our lives.

Bone density tests, or bone mass measurements, accomplish this. Keep reading to learn more about what they are, whether you need one, and what Medicare can do to help with your costs.

What is a Bone Density Test, Exactly?

A bone density test is an exam that measures how dense your bones are. It’s most commonly used as a diagnostic test for osteoporosis. Essentially, when you have a lower bone density, your risks for breaking your bones increase significantly. This test determines how high your risk for breaking a bone is based on how dense your bones are.

Who Needs a Bone Mass Measurement?

There are certain populations that face an increased risk of low bone density. Individuals belonging to these groups should get a bone density test done sooner rather than later:

  • Women over 60
  • Men over 70
  • Individuals who have broken a bone after the age of 50
  • Women of menopausal age
  • Men under 50-69 with risk factors

Where Do I Get a Bone Mass Measurement and How Often Should I Get One?

Bone density tests can be done in a variety of settings. The best way to determine where you should get yours done is to contact your insurance company and see what they say. They may direct you to the radiology department of a nearby hospital or a private medical office that can do the test for you.

Generally, experts recommend that people who need bone mass measurement tests get them done once every 1-2 years. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis and have recently started taking a new medication, then you’ll want to get this test done once a year.

Does Medicare Cover None Density Tests?

Original Medicare will sometimes cover the cost of a bone density test. In order to qualify for coverage, you need to belong to a group that Medicare has defined as at-risk for osteoporosis. This includes:

  • Estrogen-deficient women
  • People with vertebral abnormalities
  • Individuals who have received daily steroid treatments for more than 3 months
  • People with hyperthyroidism
  • Those who receive osteoporosis drug therapy

If you belong to one of these groups, then Medicare will cover the costs of a bone mass measurement test once every two years. Even better, they’ll cover 100% of the Medicare-approved costs of the tests, so you won’t have to pay a deductible or co-pay to receive this service.

It’s also worth noting that Medicare Advantage plans may offer expanded coverage for bone density tests. If you’d like to learn more about how they might help you get the coverage that you need, reach out to a partnered licensed agent through Time for 65.

Agents are Medicare experts who can help you find the best plan for your unique coverage needs. You can reach one today by either filling out this form or giving us a call.