I’m furious. There’s a simple blood test that can determine whether or not you’re low in a very important nutrient. If you are, it's easy to correct with an inexpensive over-the-counter solution. In the past, Medicare and private insurance companies have paid for this test. But now that it’s becoming more popular, Medicare has decided to stop paying for it. And when they do, I predict that other insurance carriers will follow suit.
I don’t remember when I was this angry. For the past few years we’ve been bombarded with studies that tell us inadequate vitamin D contributes to dozens of major illnesses. These include multiple sclerosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, skin infections, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. Taking sufficient vitamin D can help reduce many symptoms of these diseases and support healing. And it can do much more. People with colon cancer are 48% less likely to die when their vitamin D levels are high.
The only way to know whether or not you have sufficient vitamin D is by checking your level with a blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D.
The one Medicare decided not to pay for.
Why in the world would they stop paying for this test?
Medicare’s shortsightedness won’t save them any money. It will end up costing them more than it will save. Instead of testing for a cheap nutritional supplement, this stupid decision from our “advocates” at Medicare will pay for more expensive tests to find out what’s wrong with us. And it could be a simple nutrient deficiency.
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Just last week, I received a notice from doctors at the Mayo Clinic that found low vitamin D could contribute to chronic pain. They suggest that patients with chronic pain who are taking narcotics should have their vitamin D levels checked. They may just need more vitamin D, not more narcotics. But insurance won’t pay for this test unless there’s a diagnosis of rickets, osteomalacia, or chronic kidney failure. Chronic pain isn’t good enough — even with studies from the Mayo Clinic.
So what can you do? I recommend everyone start taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day. Most everybody has a deficiency, and the vitamin as a very low toxicity. So this dose is completely safe. You can get it from health food stores or through Advanced Bionutritionals (800-728-2288). If you want more information on the benefits of sufficient vitamin D, check my health alerts and articles on my website. You may want to stock up on vitamin D. It’s cheap and who knows how long we’ll be able to get it without a prescription.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand