New Year, New Obstacles
With the New Year comes a fresh start for all the resolutions that many around the country will spend the first few weeks of 2013 trying to accomplish. Perhaps you vowed to get back in shape, or perhaps you told yourself that you will try to slow down your pace just a bit; taking time to stop and smell the roses more often. Whatever the case may be, the New Year seems to bring new hope and positive thoughts.
So what do you do when you discover that as a patient, your medical imaging tests will no longer be covered if they are performed on the same day at your doctor’s office? An announcement was made with the New Year of hope that 2013 will bring, Medicare will now require patients to say goodbye to imaging exams being performed on the same day. Medicare has ushered in a new policy that will require a patient to return multiple days for the different medical imaging exams their doctor has ordered for them.
This means that a patient can no longer have an Echo test performed on the same day as their Nuclear Stress test. They will now be required to have their Echo on one day, while returning another day for their Stress test. One physician I spoke to about this stated that Medicare will still cover exams performed on the same day, but they have reduced the monetary amount they will cover if the tests are not done on separate days.
This may provide obstacles to those patients who live in a care facility, while making it more difficult for those patients who rely on family members who have to take a day off from work to drive them to their appointments. It probably won’t make much of a difference for the patients we see who are retired, but in one of the practices I work in, people take their golf games rather seriously. If given a chance to come in a day earlier for their appointment, they usually decline because they will be playing golf that day. People want their time to be exactly that – their time.
This new Medicare policy will be sure to cause some distress for quite a few people. As with many things, only time will tell how it will all play out. It’s hard enough to stay true to your New Year’s resolutions in regards to your health and wellness, without any added obstacles from your health insurance.