Approximately 54 million Americans either have osteoporosis or are at an increased risk for the disease
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation that would increase access to osteoporosis screening, while lowering the costs and consequences resulting from a lack of diagnosis.
“Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because bone loss usually occurs gradually without symptoms. However, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease are proven to dramatically reduce fracture rates,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation tackles a proven barrier to proper screening by restoring reimbursement levels under Medicare Part B for bone mass measurements, increasing patient access to diagnosis, while lowering costs and health consequences.”
“Osteoporosis threatens the health of millions of women, increasing the chance of fracture and reducing their quality of life,” said Senator Cardin. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has limited services for chronic conditions like osteoporosis, it is essential that we remove barriers to accurate bone density testing. This bill will provide Medicare beneficiaries with access to accurate and effective testing, will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for those with osteoporosis, and will significantly reduce health care costs.”
Over the past decade, Medicare reimbursement for osteoporosis screening has greatly declined from $140 in 2006 to $42 in 2018. As a result of reduced screening due to declining reimbursements, it is estimated that more than 40,000 additional hip fractures occur each year, resulting in nearly 10,000 additional hip-fracture deaths. In addition, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has found that declining reimbursement rates have created a 26 percent decline in physicians performing DXA tests since 2008, resulting in a corresponding 22 percent decline in diagnoses since 2009.
The Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021 restores reimbursement for Medicare Part B for bone mass measurement using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) services to 70 percent of 2006 levels.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).