Friday, December 9, 2011

Welcome to Medicare - How's Your Vitamin D?

"Medicare covers all the costs for a one-time, comprehensive “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit during the first 12 months that you have Part B." At least that's what it says on the site.

How do you like that tagline, "My start to a healthy future."? At 65, one is going to "start" toward a healthy future? At 65, the future is now. On the positive side, at least it's a positive outlook.

I ran into my wonderful friend, Bill, at Rainbow Bridge yesterday. He recently turned 65 and very recently had one of these "preventive visits".

The first thing he told me about the visit was that he had had his Vitamin D levels tested and that his levels were low; 19 ng/ml. He didn't know it at the time, but this level is dangerously low. The broadly healthy range is 30-100. Truly healthy is probably more in the range of 60-100.

So here is what I think is important here:
  1. How wonderful that Medicare covers Vitamin D testing!
  2. How wonderful that Bill's MD ordered the Vitamin D test without being asked by the patient, Bill.
  3. Bill has suffered with arthritis for many years; his arthritis could have been worsened, or been caused by his Vitamin D deficiency.
  4. Bill's MD told him to take 5,000 iu of D3 daily; I told him to take 10,000 iu/day.
  5. Retesting needs to take place in 2-3 months to accurately determine how much D he should take each day.
  6. I have heard that Medicare will only pay for testing Vitamin D one time per year; not soon enough for Bill.
  7. Major medical labs in the US have been charging as much as $250 for a Vitamin D test. At this time, I can provide the same exact test for my patients for $50 (cash only basis). Friends don't let friends flush $200 down a toilet.

  1. Regardless of whether you are of Medicare age, have you started toward your "healthy future"?
  2. Regardless of your age, what is your blood level of Vitamin D?
  3. Did you know that most Americans have low levels of Vitamin D in their blood?
  4. Can you name 5 serious risks of being Vitamin D deficient?
Amazing what can come out of a simple trip to my local health food store!

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