Reading the data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the measles outbreak, it is easy to become alarmed. It states that in 2019, from January 1 until September 26, over 1200 measles cases have been identified across 31 states. Compare this to 372 cases reported for all of 2018. CDC reports that 2019 has been pegged as the year with the highest level of cases in this country since 1992. This raises concerns about the serious complications that can arise from measles, such as pneumonia and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
The spread of this disease can be attributed primarily to communities opposed to vaccination as well as to American travelers who visit parts of the world where measles is common and then carry the disease with them when returning home to the United States. Due to this unnerving news and the pernicious impact measles can have on an individual’s health, it is understandable that people have a keen interest in learning about the measles titer.
Purpose of the Measles Titer
An antibody titer is a lab test that calculates the level of antibodies in a sample of blood. The results inform your doctor if you have been exposed to an antigen, which is essentially a toxin. The body reacts to antigens by giving rise to antibodies. This is your immune system in action. These antibodies act as the body’s soldiers in that they attack and destroy the foreign elements.
The measles titer actually checks IgG antibodies to indicate exposure to measles, mumps and rubella, so if you are researching the topic, look for the MMR titer. The results of this test will factor into your doctor’s recommendation of whether or not vaccination is appropriate. It is important to note that there is typically a variance across laboratories of what is considered a normal value range. The doctor would interpret the results and take your medical history into account before proposing a course of action.
Medicare Benefits for Measles Titer
Medicare benefits for laboratory services are covered under Part B. Medicare recipients generally pay nothing out of pocket for Medicare-approved diagnostic laboratory tests, including blood work as long as you visit a physician who accepts assignment and your tests are considered medically necessary.
As with all Medicare benefits, it is best to check through the plan in which you are enrolled to confirm coverage for any test, treatment and procedure. As an additional resource, many medical facilities employ staff who are well-versed in Medicare and whose primary responsibility it is to manage the insurance end of the medical practice. In that case, take advantage of their expertise and discuss your insurance coverage with the relevant staff member in your doctor’s office.