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October 20th- National Mammography Day

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October 20th is National Mammography Day. This day serves as a reminder to all women that the best defense against breast cancer is early detection.

A mammogram can often times detect a problem before there are any outward physical signs of the disease.

 

Women age 40 and over, on Medicare, can get a mammogram screening once every 12 months.

Medicare Part B covers this as a preventative service. Women age 35-39 with Medicare can get one baseline mammogram.

You will pay nothing for the test if the doctor accepts Medicare assignment.

If more diagnostic mammograms are recommended when a screening mammogram shows an abnormality, or if a physical exam reveals a lump, Medicare will pay for diagnostic mammograms more frequently than once a year.

These mammograms are billed differently than preventive screening mammograms.

There is a 20% coinsurance for people with Medicare who have already met their Part B deductible.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan it will cover all the same preventative services the same as Original Medicare.

This means MA plans will not be allowed to charge cost sharing fees, coinsurance, copays or deductibles) for preventive services that Original Medicare does not charge for as long as you see providers that are in network.

If you see a provider that is not in your plan’s network you will likely be responsible for charges not covered.

We would like to encourage every woman who is enrolled in Medicare to have a mammogram performed yearly. As a woman ages her risk for breast cancer increases.

According to the National Library of Medicine the median age of a breast cancer diagnosis is age 61, and 41% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 65 or older.

Early stage breast cancer in older adults, as in younger adults, is a curable disease in an overwhelming majority of patients. So taking steps to prevent breast cancer is important.

 

  • Be sure to speak with your doctor about your breast cancer risk. You may want to take further preventive steps if you have a grandmother, mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Make sure to get regular breast cancer screenings
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

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