Senior driving evaluations stymied by insurance, awareness issues

Evaluation of seniors’ driving doesn’t occur as frequently as it should due to lack of insurance coverage and unawareness among healthcare professionals that such testing exists, according to a new study published in Occupational Therapy in Health Care.

Researchers from the University of Colorado surveyed driving specialists who work with older adults at rehabilitation programs and found that 36 percent of driver evaluations are not reimbursed by insurance. The median cost of the test is $400.

In many cases, study author Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, says, testing can identify those would would benefit from rehabilitation to help maintain their independence through driving. Testing also can provide the evidence many seniors require before deciding to give up driving for their own safety and the safety of others, adds the assistant professor of emergency medicine.

“We hope that insurance companies will investigate possibly covering these tests, and we want to make doctors and the public aware that these options exist,” Betz says.

Topics: Rehabilitation