Is Vitamin D covered by Medicare?
Getting my yearly blood work gave me a shock as I was handed a mystery medical bill for my Vitamin D and my other blood work.
For my EU and Australia clients/readers this will not be the case for you.
Medical in the US has it's own language and labyrinth.
I am on Medicare and I naively thought my blood work would have been covered. Guess what?
The phlebotomist (one who draws blood) at Quest Diagnostics informed me my total out-of-pocket would be over $1000 of which $244.00 was for the Vitamin D test.
The Vitamin D, Lipid Panel and TSH (thyroid tests) did not have an ICD code.
An ICD code is The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is one of the most widely used classification systems for diagnosis coding as it allows comparability and use of mortality and morbidity data. I went back to my doctor for the proper coding and then back to Quest who told me the coding was still incorrect. Four phone calls to my doctors office woke me up to find an alternative solution.
When getting blood work, confirm there is a diagnosis code and an ICD code on the script. This will reduce mystery medical bills.
Being a problem solver, I wanted to share a potential solution. If you cannot get a Vitamin D test for whatever reason (or other blood tests), Life Extension maybe an alternative.
1. Go to Life Extension and order the test.
Phone: 1 800 678-8989 - 7 days a week from 8AM-12AM ET.
2. Cost of the Vitamin D test is $47.00 (current sale $35.25) no script is necessary.
3. Life extension sends a requisition form depending on the state you're in.
4. Bring form to LabCorp (they don't have a contract with Quest).
5. Results: 5-7 business days from the time it's drawn.
6. Life Extensions sends you the results via mail, email, fax or viewable online.
This is for residents of the US only.
25(OH) D test reflects Vitamin D produced under the skin and has a half life of 15 days. 1,25 D is the active hormone and is not a good indication of Vit D status because it has a short half life of 15 hours.
The 25(OH)D is the test that we want because it tells a more complete story of the amount of Vitamin D circulating in our blood.
Sandi Fahlen Putnam who runs a local group in Arizona, Bone Girls Club, has her own extremely challenging and painful osteoporosis story. She turned her story around using bone medication. She is now fracture and medication free.
Regarding Vitamin D she writes:
"Testing at the end of summer and end of winter, (September and March) will allow you to capture the effect of summer sun, which may be minimal in many cases."
Dr Lani Simpson who authored - No Nonsense Sun Health Guide which focuses on Vitamin D, recommends 45 ng/ml US or 113 nmol UK. It may take some time to get there and maintain your levels. Vitamin D plays a pivotal role, limiting withdrawals of calcium from the bone by enhancing calcium absorption from food in the intestines into the bloodstream 
Back to Sandi's pearls of wisdom. "Most people benefit and can start with 2,000 IU of D3 per day.
After using the SAME DAILY amount for about 3 months, you can adjust your level by 10 points US or 25 points UK upward with an additional 1,000 IU of D3 per day for another 8-12 weeks.
You can settle into a routine testing of every year and/or maybe in timing with other annual blood work or your DXA.
It is not routine despite its value on all health concerns. And always ask if there is an additional charge when getting your blood work.
US and UK blood levels are the same BUT the tests and results reporting are in different measurement units. The US number multiplied by 2.5 gives you the UK equivalent."
And if you are feeling resistance, it's understandable. One step in front of the other.
I refer my clients to Dr. Keith McCormick for their bone consultation. Determining if bone loss is currently happening is key. We want to stop bone loss. Creating your "next steps" for your bones makes a difference. Dr. McComick can also order Vitamin D and other bone markers.
If you find this blog helpful, kindly share with anyone you know who has bones using the links below.
From my bones to yours,
Irma Jennings, INHC - Holistic Bone Coach Harvard Medical School - Osteoporosis A guide to prevent and treatment