Medicare Will Cover Aneurysm Testing
Medicare beginning next year for the first time will cover ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms for high-risk groups of beneficiaries, the Wall Street Journal reports. Categories include those who have a history of aneurysms in their family or males who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetimes, according to the Journal.
The new provision, which does not include seniors currently in the Medicare program, was a part of the budget bill President Bush signed last week, the Journal reports.
Robert Zwolak, a Dartmouth Medical School vascular surgeon who campaigned for the new coverage, said the move is "a tremendous step forward and a great victory for patients at risk."
According to the Journal, AAAs kill 15,000 U.S. residents each year, although the number could be higher because the causes of sudden deaths often go undetermined. Supporters of the bill estimate that roughly 58,000 U.S. beneficiaries could be screened during the first year (Burton, Wall Street Journal, 2/10).