58-3-174. Coverage for bone mass measurement for diagnosis and evaluation of osteoporosis or low bone mass.

(a) Every entity providing a health benefit plan shall provide coverage for a qualified individual for scientifically proven and approved bone mass measurement for the diagnosis and evaluation of osteoporosis or low bone mass. The same deductibles, coinsurance, and other limitations as apply to similar services covered under the plan shall apply to coverage for bone mass measurement.

(b) A health benefit plan may provide that bone mass measurement will be covered if at least 23 months have elapsed since the last bone mass measurement was performed, except that a plan must provide coverage for follow-up bone mass measurement performed more frequently than every 23 months if the follow-up measurement is medically necessary. Conditions under which more frequent bone mass measurement coverage may be medically necessary include, but are not limited to:

(1) Monitoring beneficiaries on long-term glucocorticoid therapy of more than three months.

(2) Allowing for a central bone mass measurement to determine the effectiveness of adding an additional treatment regimen for a qualified individual who is proven to have low bone mass so long as the bone mass measurement is performed 12 to 18 months from the start date of the additional regimen.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require health benefit plans to cover screening for nonqualified individuals.

(d) As used in this section, the term:

(1) "Bone mass measurement" means a scientifically proven radiologic, radioisotopic, or other procedure performed on a qualified individual to identify bone mass or detect bone loss for the purpose of initiating or modifying treatment.

(2) "Health benefit plan" means an accident and health insurance policy or certificate; a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation contract; a health maintenance organization subscriber contract; a plan provided by a multiple employer welfare arrangement; or a plan provided by another benefit arrangement, to the extent permitted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, or by any waiver of or other exception to that act provided under federal law or regulation. "Health benefit plan" does not mean any plan implemented or administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services or the United States Department of Health and Human Services, or any successor agency, or its representatives. "Health benefit plan" also does not mean any of the following kinds of insurance:

a. Accident

b. Credit

c. Disability income

d. Long-term care or nursing home care

e. Medicare supplement

f. Specified disease

g. Dental or vision

h. Short-term limited duration coverage

i. Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance

j. Workers' compensation

k. Medical payments under automobile or homeowners

l . Hospital income or indemnity

m. Insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and that is statutorily required to be contained in any liability policy or equivalent self-insurance.

(3) "Insurer" includes an insurance company subject to this Chapter, a service corporation organized under Article 65 of this Chapter, a health maintenance organization organized under Article 67 of this Chapter, and a multiple employer welfare arrangement subject to Article 49 of this Chapter.

(4) "Qualified individual" means any one or more of the following:

a. An individual who is estrogen-deficient and at clinical risk of osteoporosis or low bone mass.

b. An individual with radiographic osteopenia anywhere in the skeleton.

c. An individual who is receiving long-term glucocorticoid (steroid) therapy.

d. An individual with primary hyperparathyroidism.

e. An individual who is being monitored to assess the response to or efficacy of commonly accepted osteoporosis drug therapies.

f. An individual who has a history of low-trauma fractures.

g. An individual with other conditions or on medical therapies known to cause osteoporosis or low bone mass. (1999-197, s. 1.)