Is a physician’s prescription required for Medicare to cover a screening mammography?


No, a doctor’s prescription or referral is not necessary for the procedure to be covered. Whether payment can be made is determined by a woman’s age and statutory frequency parameter. Section 4101 of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 provides for annual screening mammograms for women over age 39 and waives the Part B deductible. Coverage applies as follows:

  • Underage 35, no payment
  • From 35–39, baseline payment for only one screening mammography performed on a woman between her 35th and 40th birthday
  • Overage 39, annual (11 full months have elapsed following the month of last screening)

This question was answered in our Breast & Bone Density Procedure Coding Guide. For more hot topics relating to radiology services, please visit our store or call us at 1.800.252.1578, ext. 2.


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