Bone mass measurements (sometimes called bone density tests) show if you need medical treatment for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes brittle bones in many older adults.

Medicare pays in full (no coinsurances, copays or deductibles) for this test once every two years for people whose doctor or other health care provider prescribed the test because they:

  • Are an estrogen-deficient women who is at risk for osteoporosis based on her medical history and other findings
  • Have vertebral abnormalities that were shown on an x-ray
  • Have received daily steroid treatments for more than three months
  • Have hyperparathyroidism
  • Take an osteoporosis drug

If you are in Original Medicare no coinsurance or deductible will apply if you see doctors who take assignment. Doctors who take assignment cannot charge you more than the Medicare approved amount. However, if your provider diagnoses you with osteoporosis at the time of the exam, the exam becomes diagnostic and costs may apply.

Medicare will also cover follow-up measurements or more frequent screening if your doctor prescribes them.

Medicare Advantage Plans cover all preventive services the same as Original Medicare. This means Medicare Advantage Plans will not be allowed to charge cost-sharing fees (coinsurances, copays or deductibles) for preventive services that Original Medicare does not charge for as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply.