by Jared Staheli
June 25th, 2015
A. Screening Mammography
Beginning January 1, 1991, Medicare provides Part B coverage of screening mammographies for women. Screening mammographies are radiologic procedures for early detection of breast cancer and include a physician’s interpretation of the results. A doctor’s prescription or referral is not necessary for the procedure to be covered. Whether payment can be made is determined by a woman’s age and statutory frequency parameter. See Pub. 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, chapter 15, section 280.3 for additional coverage information for a screening mammography.
Section 4101 of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 provides for annual screening mammographies for women over age 39 and waives the Part B deductible. Coverage applies as follows:
|Age Groups||Screening Period|
|Under age 35||No payment allowed for screening mammography.|
|35-39||Baseline (pay for only one screening mammography performed on a woman between her 35th and 40th birthday)|
|Over age 39||Annual (11 full months have elapsed following the month of last screening)|
NOTE: Count months between screening mammographies beginning the month after the date of the examination. For example, if Mrs. Smith received a screening mammography examination in January 2005, begin counting the next month (February 2005) until 11 months have elapsed. Payment can be made for another screening mammography in January 2006.
B. Diagnostic Mammography
A diagnostic mammography is a radiological mammogram and is a covered diagnostic test under the following conditions:
• A patient has distinct signs and symptoms for which a mammogram is indicated;
• A patient has a history of breast cancer; or
• A patient is asymptomatic, but based on the patient’s history and other factors the physician considers significant, the physician’s judgment is that a mammogram is appropriate.
• Beginning January 1, 2005, Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003, §644, Public Law 108-173 has changed the way Medicare pays for diagnostic mammography. Medicare will pay based on the MPFS in lieu of OPPS or the lower of the actual change.