Thermography is a test that uses an infrared camera to detect the patient’s heat patterns as well as blood flow in the tissue. One of the ways to diagnose breast cancer is through the test known as digital infrared thermal imaging, or also known as DITI. DITI reveals the differences in temperatures on the surface of the patient’s breasts to diagnose breast cancer.
If you are considering this kind of test, you may be wondering “does Medicare cover thermography?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of thermography and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Thermography?
The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of thermography. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your thermography.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for thermography. So that means you will have to pay 100 percent for your thermography. The reason why Original Medicare does not provide coverage for thermography is that, according to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, it is not yet proven as an effective procedure.
Mammography is one alternative to these breast cancer tests. Original Medicare provides coverage for mammography. Coverage for mammography is provided by Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B provides coverage for mammography as a baseline test for female beneficiaries between the ages of 35 to 49. Part B also provides coverage for one mammogram each year for female beneficiaries who are 40 years of age or older.
Medicare Part B covers one mammogram test each year. Part B also covers one or more diagnostic mammograms if it is necessary to diagnose breast cancer.
Medicare Part B covers 100% of the costs of a yearly screening mammogram. But if it is a necessary diagnostic mammogram, Medicare Part B covers only 80% of the costs, and you will pay for the remaining 20%.
Part C Coverage for Thermography
Just like with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also do not provide coverage for thermography. These plans have to cover the same treatments and procedures that Medicare Parts A & B cover. However, they will cover things that Parts A & B do not. What each plan covers and what the costs for the plan are will vary. We are not aware of any Advantage plans though that cover thermography.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Thermography Test?
A thermogram test may cost somewhere from $175 to $250. This cost will vary depending on the provider.
Is Thermography Controversial?
As of now, the use of thermography as a replacement for a mammogram test is still controversial in the medical community. That is because thermography has not been scientifically proven to be an effective method of early breast cancer detection.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover therapeutic phlebotomy?