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.
If Medicare does not cover you because of your age, any one of the following risk factors puts you at higher risk for osteoporosis and fractures. With any one of these factors, your insurance company should cover a DXA.
1) Early menopause < age 40
2) Adults with a prior low impact fracture
3) Adults with a disease or condition associated with low bone mass or bone loss
5) Anyone being treated for low bone mass to monitor treatment
6) Anyone receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy for breast or prostrate cancer
7) Anyone being considered for an osteoporosis drug.
If you find you do not qualify under any of these guidelines, use the ABH Fracture Risk Calculator and determine your risk of fracture for yourself. You will be able to print a color graph that clearly shows your 10-year risk for a fracture and a list of questions to consider when you talk with your doctor.
Find a DXA center
When you look for a center to get your DXA, find one with a staff who have been trained by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry. Getting your DXA measured by an ISCD certified technician and read by an ISCD certified physician ensures a high quality result.
Get your results
FINALLY, make sure that you ask for your DXA report and keep it with your other health records. This report can help you follow your progress whether you stay with the same doctor or move in the future.