Body Scan: FSA Eligibility
Revenue Ruling 2007-22
What is a body scan?
A body scan is shorthand for an imaging procedure known as computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT), which utilizes special x-ray equipment to create detailed pictures of the inside of the human body. This type of body scanning is unique for its ability to be reformatted in multiple planes to create cross-sectional images of bones, soft tissues and blood vessels within the body. These scans are conducted by professional radiologists and can give medical professionals an enhanced ability to diagnose major medical conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, appendicitis, internal trauma and musculoskeletal disorders (Medical News Today).
How is a body scan performed?
Depending on what type of CT scan is being performed and what is being scanned, there may be a series of important steps that patients will have to take to ensure that their scan is conducted correctly. Some tests may require removing metal objects that may interfere with image results, as well as refraining from eating or drinking for a time period before the procedure. Additionally, some CT scans may require a contrast material to be ingested. For instance, some liquids can be ingested, injected or inserted via an enema to emphasize blood vessels, intestines, urinary tracts and other bodily structures.
Body scans are conducted at hospitals or other outpatient facilities and typically will last under a half hour for the entire procedure. Patients will lie on a narrow table that slowly slides them through an opening into a small tunnel that contains a scanner, detectors and X-ray tubes that rotate around the patient in order to take images. During this process, the patient can speak with the radiologist performing the test through an intercom, and patients may have to hold their breath or stay perfectly still at certain junctures to ensure that the images don't become blurry (Mayo Clinic).
When are body scans necessary?
While body scans are typically scheduled when physicians suspect that a patient has an underlying medical condition that requires further analysis through a CT scan, some medical professionals now advocate for whole body scans as a necessary portion of a physical exam (MedicineNet.com). It's vital to check with a benefits administrator to ensure that these scans are covered by an account holder's plan, or whether a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) will be required for reimbursement.