Alcohol Screening to Reduce Misuse

by  Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
April 23rd, 2015

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and April 9 is National Alcohol Screening Day. Because alcohol misuse contributes to a variety of both social and medical problems, this day was set aside as a way to reach out, educate and increase awareness in communities. By screenings and other initiatives, at-risk individuals can get connected with treatment options.

Considered a preventive service, if screenings meet insurance criteria, they may be reimbursed at 100%. For example, Medicare has posted the following information:

Medicare covers an annual alcohol screening. For those who screen positive, Medicare will cover and up to four, brief face-to-face behavioral counseling interventions per year for Medicare beneficiaries, including pregnant women:

  • Who misuse alcohol, but whose levels or patterns of alcohol consumption do not meet criteria for alcohol dependence (defined as at least three of the following: tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, impaired control, preoccupation with acquisition and/or use, persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to quit, sustains social, occupational, or recreational disability, use continues despite adverse consequences); and
  • Who are competent and alert at the time that counseling is provided; and,
  • Whose counseling is furnished by qualified primary care physicians or other primary care practitioners in a primary care setting.

The Medicare coinsurance and Part B deductible are waived for this preventive service.


Alcohol Screening to Reduce Misuse. (2015, April 23). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from

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