Medicare: Saving Cents Makes No Sense

February 13, 2020

Maintaining appropriate vitamin D levels is crucial to our health, particularly in warding off viral infections —so why won’t the government health agencies charged with serving the most vulnerable citizens cover vitamin D tests? Action Alert!

Medicare and Medicaid cover 118 million people in the US (44 million and 74 million, respectively). This group includes the elderly and the most financially vulnerable citizens. These plans generally cover healthcare services that participating physicians consider “medically necessary”—that is, by conventional medical standards. To get a vitamin D test covered by Medicare or Medicaid there typically needs to be a “clinically documented” underlying disease or condition which is specifically associated with vitamin D deficiency. This refusal to utilize natural medicine puts some of our most vulnerable populations at risk.

Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common: one study found that 42 percent of Americans were deficient in this crucial vitamin, with the highest rates among African Americans (82 percent) and Hispanics (69 percent).

And what constitutes vitamin D deficiency? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), serum concentrations of 25(OH)D of less than 12 ng/mL is considered deficient; at least 20 ng/mL is considered adequate, and more than 50 ng/mL is linked with adverse health effects.

This is another example of the government being woefully behind on the science. Our colleagues at ANH International report that 40-60 ng/mL is necessary to get the many health benefits of vitamin D. Others have said that blood levels of 50-80 ng/mL are associated with reduced mortality and lower risks for common diseases.

Before we get into the many other health benefits of vitamin D, it should be noted that,  with the current coronavirus outbreak on many people’s minds, vitamin D intake has been associated with strengthened immunity against vital infections. Adults and children with higher vitamin D levels contract substantially fewer viral infections. This is likely because vitamin D upregulates the expression of antimicrobial peptides that are secreted by immune cells throughout the body. These peptides damage the outer lipid membrane of infectious agents, making them more easy to eradicate.

There is no magic bullet, but maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is incredibly important. Research has shown that adults with higher levels of vitamin D have 50 percent less risk of colon cancer. Other studies found that vitamin D inhibits the proliferation of cancerous prostate, breast, bone and skin cells as well. Vitamin D may play a role in preventing hypertension. It’s also crucial for bone health and osteoporosis prevention. Additional sunlight exposure and/or vitamin D supplementation starting in childhood may reduce the risk of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Researchers have observed that multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune diseases are more prevalent in temperate latitudes away from the equator—the implication being that those closer to the equator get more direct sunlight and therefore have higher vitamin D levels.

On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency puts us more at risk for negative health outcomes.  Research has shown that 90 percent of people with multiple sclerosis are vitamin D deficient. A 2015 study found that vitamin D-deficient patients in hospital intensive care units (ICU) were 2.4 times more likely to die than patients with adequate vitamin D levels. Note that giving vitamin D-deficient ICU patients large doses of the vitamin does not consistently reverse this threat, suggesting that higher blood levels of vitamin D should be maintained on a consistent basis to get the protective effects.

All of this demonstrates the incredible health benefits that can be achieved if optimal vitamin D levels are reached, and we cannot know what our levels are without getting tested. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—vitamin D tests can cost around $100, but that is a small price to pay to prevent chronic illness and years of prescription drug costs to treat those conditions. The time to do this testing would obviously be before there is a “clinically documented” underlying disease—the very goal would be to help prevent such a disease from manifesting! Clearly, the medical establishment would prefer us to get sick and take expensive pharmaceutical drugs for years than to get our vitamin D levels tested so we can stay healthy.

Some of the most vulnerable members of our society are on Medicare and Medicaid, and it is a travesty that vitamin D and similar tests are not covered by these services.

This points to a more fundamental problem. Our health system is in crisis. We spend more on health than any other country in the world, yet we are in the midst of an epidemic of chronic illness. We’re exposed to harmful chemicals in our air and water, in our consumer products, and our food. Our health system is decades behind the best science about how to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses. Vulnerable populations—the poor, the elderly, and young children—are hit the hardest, along with those living in areas with more toxic exposures.

Because our crony medical system throttles access to natural health options to protect drug monopolies, only those with substantial means can afford the best and most advanced care.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Join our fight for the right to stay healthy, naturally by limiting toxic exposures and getting real recognition for cheap, safe, and effective natural medicine that can help us address and prevent chronic illness.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and tell them to cover routine vitamin D tests. Please send your message immediately.

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57 responses to “Medicare: Saving Cents Makes No Sense”

  1. Twyla M Meyer says:

    Please cover Vitamin D tests!

  2. Patricia Chambers says:

    I’d probably have died by now if my doctor hadn’t ran these tests. I feel so much better after taking this vitamin.

  3. Rich Moser says:

    No Trump dump on our head.

  4. roger schmidt says:

    LIVES ARE ON THE LINE! GREED IS KILLING US! TAX BREAKS FOR THE 1% IS NOT HELPING IT IS KILLING! THE GENOCIDE FOR PROFIT MUST STOP!

  5. Steve Rose says:

    I take D3 supplements daily for immune health. I’ve previously had my D3 levels tested and it was covered. This is important to me. Please protect our health and keep this test covered under Medicare.

  6. Joanne Fornes says:

    i live in a northern part of the country and MUST keep on top of vitamin d…
    how short sighted is it to forbid a test but pay thousands of dollars to take care of illnesses…

    PREVENTION! PREVENTION! PREVENTION!

  7. Patrick McIntosh says:

    Don’t let them chisel us out of good health!

  8. I take two large vitamin d3 pills a day and when I was tested I was good. At 77 at that time the docs were startled. I take far more than the recommendation cause at my age I don’t absorb very well and it takes a lot to actually give me adequate in my body.

  9. Patricia Faust says:

    This important test is needed for health care

  10. Maryellen Redish says:

    Please have Medicare and Medicaid cover routine vitamin D tests.

  11. Jon Krueger says:

    Medicare is insurance we all pay into. No reason to take it away. Indeed, dishonest to try to do so.

  12. betty says:

    I am 76 and I’ve had vit D tests with medicare without an issue. They only test every 2 yrs. meanwhile I’ve upped my daily dose to 15k units because that’s the level at which I feel well.

  13. Victoria Hoyos says:

    We need to cover the vitamin D tests for every citizen.

  14. Duane Gibson says:

    Why are so many tests not covered? Cover the Vitamin D Tests!

  15. Larry Hovekamp says:

    Restore funding and coverage for routine Vitamin D tests in Medicare. We citizens and recipients have paid into the Medicare system and should get full coverage for our medical conditions and health maintenance, including Vitamin D deficiency. Letting patients die or adding even more costs after failing to cover necessary prevention of illness is no way to save money.

  16. Kathrine Fegette says:

    Medicare and Medicaid should pay for ALL subscribers to get Vitamin D testing. The small price of the tests is way less than the cost of paying for the care of deficiency illnesses.

  17. Linda Ferland says:

    Congress: Cover Routine Vit D Tests.

  18. Jessica Rollins says:

    Cover routine Vitamin D tests.

  19. Scott Jon says:

    We seriously need this support. We cannot consume enough food, plus we have to avoid excessive solar exposure. It makes sense to insure we have a healthy society, no matter what age.

  20. Margaret M. Rivers says:

    It is past time for Medicare and Medicaid to cover Vitamin D tests. These test will reveal the need for supplemental Vitamin D that will increase levels of health and wellness substantially. Vitamin D is very inexpensive and should be covered for all those who can not afford it. But the tests should be routinely done annually so that preventive action can be taken to prevent many illnesses.

  21. Jeffery Biss says:

    Cover routine vitamin D test!

  22. Dianne Smith says:

    As a senior I feel it’s very important to cover routine Vitamin D testing to let us know if there’s a problem so it can be corrected to have us be healthy.

  23. Irene Martone says:

    Three different doctors have told me I must increase my Vitamin D levels since Chronic Lyme Disease has tremendously weakened my immune system.

    Now, now, you want to stop covering Vitamin D testing??? Why??? As a citizen of this country, I am entitled to the best health care possible (that’s a joke). I’m disabled and NEED Medicare and Medicaid to continue to pay for this VITAL, VITAL, VITAL service.

    The people of this country keep getting more and more taken away from them, while Big Money Corporations Rule and Exploit Americans. It’s so obvious, it’s disgusting.

    I’m begging you to continue to cover Vitamin D testing. If you look at the science, you’ll understand.

  24. Lynn says:

    Every thing good is now bad with this evil in government offices. This ruling, is jus eugenics. Their ultimate goal is to reduce the older population,
    If they would focus on the good, they won’t make any money. That is what this is about. If you want natural healing, you pay for it your self…..I am sick of this……

  25. Deb says:

    Please cover Vitamin D testing

  26. Janet murray says:

    V d 3 test so cheap boost immune system helps bone health so much more please fund this

  27. Todd Heiler says:

    The health benefits of this are more than worth it when compared to the costs of ignoring it. I would as a taxpayer rather that the the government spend my hard earned money on preventive measures rather than not addressing the issue and having to pay out a much greater cost when there is a much worse health issue that arises because this was not addressed.

  28. Janet Rountree says:

    I know from personal experience that Vitamin D levels need to be checked and maintained.

  29. Jose Yvellez says:

    bUENOS ARTICULOS PUEDEN ENVIARMEMOS EN ESPNOL GRACIAS

  30. Kathleen Basiewicz says:

    You should be expanding the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid services, no shrinking them. Just remember one day you will be old too.

  31. Pamela Kjono says:

    Preventative treatment is cheaper in the long run than costly medical treatments for more complex medical issues.

  32. David M Pierpaoli says:

    Medicare and Medicaid Services should cover routine Vitamin D tests. I went for blood tests last year and was charged $273 for a vitamin D test. Thank God my doctor sent an explanation after my surgery and it was finally covered after 3 months. This is ridiculous. Our COLA is 1.6% but Medicare deductible is increased, Part D is increased. We end up with less income than last year.

  33. Graywolf12 says:

    The amount of money saved preventing viral diseases and depression in elderly should more than off set the cost of the tests and treatment. Go with what has worked for thousands of years, not chemical combinations.

  34. John Moszyk says:

    Maintaining appropriate vitamin D levels is crucial to our health, particularly in warding off viral infections —so why won’t the government health agencies charged with serving the most vulnerable citizens cover vitamin D tests? Action Alert!

    Medicare and Medicaid cover 118 million people in the US (44 million and 74 million, respectively). This group includes the elderly and the most financially vulnerable citizens. These plans generally cover healthcare services that participating physicians consider “medically necessary”—that is, by conventional medical standards. To get a vitamin D test covered by Medicare or Medicaid there typically needs to be a “clinically documented” underlying disease or condition which is specifically associated with vitamin D deficiency. This refusal to utilize natural medicine puts some of our most vulnerable populations at risk.

    Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common: one study found that 42 percent of Americans were deficient in this crucial vitamin, with the highest rates among African Americans (82 percent) and Hispanics (69 percent).

    And what constitutes vitamin D deficiency? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), serum concentrations of 25(OH)D of less than 12 ng/mL is considered deficient; at least 20 ng/mL is considered adequate, and more than 50 ng/mL is linked with adverse health effects.

    This is another example of the government being woefully behind on the science. Our colleagues at ANH International report that 40-60 ng/mL is necessary to get the many health benefits of vitamin D. Others have said that blood levels of 50-80 ng/mL are associated with reduced mortality and lower risks for common diseases.

    Before we get into the many other health benefits of vitamin D, it should be noted that, with the current coronavirus outbreak on many people’s minds, vitamin D intake has been associated with strengthened immunity against vital infections. Adults and children with higher vitamin D levels contract substantially fewer viral infections. This is likely because vitamin D upregulates the expression of antimicrobial peptides that are secreted by immune cells throughout the body. These peptides damage the outer lipid membrane of infectious agents, making them more easy to eradicate.

    There is no magic bullet, but maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is incredibly important. Research has shown that adults with higher levels of vitamin D have 50 percent less risk of colon cancer. Other studies found that vitamin D inhibits the proliferation of cancerous prostate, breast, bone and skin cells as well. Vitamin D may play a role in preventing hypertension. It’s also crucial for bone health and osteoporosis prevention. Additional sunlight exposure and/or vitamin D supplementation starting in childhood may reduce the risk of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Researchers have observed that multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune diseases are more prevalent in temperate latitudes away from the equator—the implication being that those closer to the equator get more direct sunlight and therefore have higher vitamin D levels.

    On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency puts us more at risk for negative health outcomes. Research has shown that 90 percent of people with multiple sclerosis are vitamin D deficient. A 2015 study found that vitamin D-deficient patients in hospital intensive care units (ICU) were 2.4 times more likely to die than patients with adequate vitamin D levels. Note that giving vitamin D-deficient ICU patients large doses of the vitamin does not consistently reverse this threat, suggesting that higher blood levels of vitamin D should be maintained on a consistent basis to get the protective effects.

    All of this demonstrates the incredible health benefits that can be achieved if optimal vitamin D levels are reached, and we cannot know what our levels are without getting tested. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—vitamin D tests can cost around $100, but that is a small price to pay to prevent chronic illness and years of prescription drug costs to treat those conditions. The time to do this testing would obviously be before there is a “clinically documented” underlying disease—the very goal would be to help prevent such a disease from manifesting! Clearly, the medical establishment would prefer us to get sick and take expensive pharmaceutical drugs for years than to get our vitamin D levels tested so we can stay healthy.

    Some of the most vulnerable members of our society are on Medicare and Medicaid, and it is a travesty that vitamin D and similar tests are not covered by these services.

    This points to a more fundamental problem. Our health system is in crisis. We spend more on health than any other country in the world, yet we are in the midst of an epidemic of chronic illness. We’re exposed to harmful chemicals in our air and water, in our consumer products, and our food. Our health system is decades behind the best science about how to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses. Vulnerable populations—the poor, the elderly, and young children—are hit the hardest, along with those living in areas with more toxic exposures.

    Because our crony medical system throttles access to natural health options to protect drug monopolies, only those with substantial means can afford the best and most advanced care.

    It doesn’t need to be this way. Join our fight for the right to stay healthy, naturally by limiting toxic exposures and getting real recognition for cheap, safe, and effective natural medicine that can help us address and prevent chronic illness.

  35. Judith Brady says:

    Testing for Vitamin D is a medical necessity for patients on Medicare and/or Medicaid. Covering the cost of the test is common sense. Let doctors decide when their patients need to be tested. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the old saying goes.

  36. Tawnya Farris says:

    Covering routine vitamin D tests is critical.

  37. Janice Gloe says:

    Please cover routine vitamin D tests!!!

  38. andree boursiquot says:

    Vitamin D should be covered as a routine test. Adequate levels of the vitamin in the body is very important to maintain optimal health. Thank you.

  39. Kate Holland says:

    I’ve taken Vitamin supplements for decades. Recently diagnosed with Osteoporosis, it is important to maintain my Vitamin D levels. Medicare should cover the testing as part of annual physical blood work.

  40. Tracy S. Feldman says:

    Please cover routine Vitamin D tests!

  41. gina mondazze says:

    Cover important routine vitamin D test

  42. Robin Rysavy says:

    Seems like Vit. D testing should be covered under insurance. It is really important. I had to have mine tested and have to take a doctor prescribed supplement. This is a no-brainer. It should be covered.

  43. M. Bell says:

    It is penny wise and pound foolish to not cover Vitamin D testing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Insurance companies would save more money if they would keep people healthy in the first place. Vitamin D testing should be considered “routine preventative” labwork.

  44. sumner ferris says:

    the wealthy who own this nation oppose what they have. the best medical available paid for by those they deny.

  45. Pearl K Holloway says:

    Covering Vitamin D tests seems like it should be a non-issue. It will save the health care and insurance industry money in the long run.

  46. stuart stong says:

    please don’t mess with medicare.

  47. COLLEEN MOORE says:

    WE MUST SAVE THE PLANET FOR OUR CHILDRENS’ CHILDREN – WE MUST HAVE CLEAN AIR, WATER & FOOD IF WE EXPECT TO SURVIVE – WE MUST COEXIST WITH OUR WILDLIFE & ENVIRONMENT IF WE WANT TO LEAVE ANYTHING FOR OUR CHILDREN – PLEASE THINK WITH YOUR HEART & YOUR HEAD & DO THE RIGHT THING – GOD BLESS AMERICA & GOD’S SPEED – TX U!

  48. stan glazner says:

    I have been warned by my doctor for years that my vitamin D levels were too high at 80 ng/ml. I haven’t had a serious cold or illness for 10 years. sniffles, sneezes yes, but nothing more. I’m 74.

  49. tara wheeler says:

    We were better at one time. Through the years, everything has been done quicker, easier, cheaper, at the cost of the environment. We need to think of ways to reverse this trend, & help the earth & thus everyone else in the long run.

    Don’t forget about cutting back our carbon footprint. (and all that entails, including reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, compost—when you can safely, & living as simply as possible, cutting back on excess, downsizing, etc . . .).
    I’m trying, but I think we could do more to encourage others around the world. Including setting a good example ourselves. I’m not sure Trump did the wrong thing. I was not in favor of the Paris Agreement for my own reasons, and I am a tree hugger. I also love this planet & all in it. but the nuclear option could blow it for all of us. (making it worse than it could ever get—because nuclear energy is very dangerous) I sometimes wonder about people who are pushing for the nuclear option. Do they just not know the past mishaps? do they have too much trust in humanity? do they not think of terrorism or other such deeds? Not to mention natural disasters?, etc . . . I think that was a mistake. It, nuclear energy, should not have been included in the answer to our problems. & I worry that this is buried in this Green New Deal as well.

    Another problem is that Haste Makes Waste & many times in our urgency to do good we move too fast for our own good & the good of others. Someone may suffer as a result & there may be no quick remedies before much suffering by many. So we need to take it slow by testing small areas first & then progressing, realizing that some things will not show up right away. But the first steps above could start earlier. But in any case we need to realize that we may need to make changes for the best of all.

    This is the best time to realize that all people, animals, beings/creatures, spirits, etc . . . dwell in the same space: Earth. We are the past, present, & future. We are all above, below, on and or in the earth. It is the home of us all & we all need each other whether we know it or not. We should make all plans keeping the future of all in mind. We are all connected, so what we do in one part of the world will eventually get to another.

    & I hope you will join me in praying for the president & that he & his team will realize our wishes & understand they are for his benefit as well as the benefit for everyone else in the long run.

    If you’d like, you could pass on my wishes to him as well.

    I share a variety of perspectives. no matter who we are or where we came from, we can thank God that we are here & that we do have a lot to be thankful for.
    Maybe not as much as some. But a lot more than others. yes, there are times when I feel worse than others, that happens to all of us, no matter who we are. But thank God we are here. We can also agree to disagree on many issues. That’s life.
    The whole point is that we are all here, thank God, & we all have life,
    & we all are together.

    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!

    Take care & God Bless All . . .

  50. Jennifer Stewart says:

    I will not take synthetic medical preparations unless absolutely necessary. I happier and healthier with organic and natural supplements.

  51. Sharon Hess says:

    I don’t rely on any tests, but take plenty of vitamin D. You can’t OD on it and your body will filter out anything it doesn’t use.

  52. rich says:

    We the people want this…you work for us…we will vote you out if you don’t educate yourself and get this crucial test covered!

  53. Susan Vogt says:

    We have paid into medicare and have EARNED the benifits! Stop screwing over the american people!

  54. Beverly Gorlach says:

    On my regular (too expensive group health insurance thru employer), when getting bloodwork done my PCP always checks my Vit D levels as she knows how important this is to maintain good health; levels important especially for women. I would opt for Medicare for All with a new administration but if that’s where we are headed then basic preventive blood labs to check D levels is crucial. Low Vit D levels invite in illness to the body and have even been linked to those w/low levels getting cancer. Imagine how much we could all save, even the government, if we opted for preventive services more than sickness services. Please cover routine Vitamin D testing.

    Thanks

  55. Robert Jones says:

    Please cover routine vitamin D tests.

  56. Sherri Groves says:

    My husband was never checked for Vitamin D until I asked the doctors. He was critically low. He was given a supplement to bring it up but was still very low. He was given Levaquin during a stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma and the antibiotic destroyed his tendons and rotator cuff. He can’t lift his arm. He was a perfect storm for the damage because his Vitamin D was so low. My goodness – what a difference it might have made in his life had they done Vitamin D tests.

  57. Sally Stuart says:

    So many chronic illnesses. So many of those same illnesses may have the first symptoms that could be attributed to low Vitamin D. The lab levels for Vitamin D are also too low, before a diagnosis is made. How much money and ill health could be prevented if only Vitamin D levels were checked. Vitamin D is actually considered a HORMONE it affects so many systems in the body. So many people do not get enough REAL sun light that does anything, depending on latitude and if even out in it at the opportune times when it is best for giving its benefits. The medical world is always preaching sunscreen. How wise is that.
    Almost every cell in our bodies have a vitamin D receptor. Low levels have been linked to osteoporosis, infectious disease, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, heart disease and cancer? Low vitamin D is also connected to low moods.
    It is crazy that the elderly are denied the Vitamin D lab test. They are most apt not to get outside for the sun, and to have those chronic conditions.

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