One of the best things about turning 65 is that you can sign up for Medicare. Seniors who are getting ready to make the transition may wonder what preventative services their Medicare plan covers compared to the employer-based or individual coverage they have been using. The good news is that Medicare covers a fairly wide range of preventative services and tests such as cancer screenings because they can save lives and money in the long run. Most of these preventative services are covered at no additional cost to Medicare beneficiaries as long as their doctor accepts assignment and they qualify for the screening.
Top 10 preventative services covered by Medicare
1. "Welcome to Medicare" visit
After you sign up for Medicare, you are entitled to a “welcome to Medicare visit” within the first 12 months of enrollment in Medicare Part B medical insurance. There is no co-pay or out-of-pocket costs for this visit. The purpose of the visit is to establish a baseline for your health by reviewing your medical history. It also usually includes a basic vision exam and weight and blood pressure checks.
2. Annual wellness exam
Like private health care plans, Medicare provides an annual wellness exam with no out-of-pocket costs. The purpose of this visit is to prevent and manage illness. The physician will usually perform routine tests and measurements, do a review of any medications and provide health advise as needed.
3. Bone mass measurements
Many seniors struggle with low bone density that can lead to osteoporosis and a high risk of bone fractures. Medicare covers bone mass measurements with no out-of-pocket costs every 24 months.
4. Preventative vaccines
Medicare provides the following vaccines to its beneficiaries:
· a flu shot once each flu season
· Hepatitis B shot for people who are at medium or high risk for the disease
· Two pneumococcal shots
5. Cardiovascular disease tests
Medicare covers the full cost of tests for cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels every five years. The purpose is to screen seniors who may be at high risk for heart disease or stroke.
6. Cancer screenings
Medicare pays for a variety of cancer screenings because the best chance of surviving treatment is when the disease is caught early. These tests are provided:
· colonoscopy at least every 120 months
· lung cancer screening with LDCT every 12 months
· fecal occult blood test every 12 months
· mammogram every 12 months
· pap test and breast exam at least every 24 months
· prostate cancer blood test every 12 months
7. STD Screening
Medicare covers the cost of many common STD tests once every 12 months, including tests for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
8. Depression screening
Medicare recipients can request a screening for depression with their primary care provider at no cost to them.
9. Diabetes screening
According to the ADA, half of Americans over the age of 65 are pre-diabetic and at risk for developing Type-2 diabetes. Medicare pays for up to two blood screenings per 12-month period to identify seniors who are at risk for diabetes.
10. Abdominal aortic aneurysm screenings
Medicare will cover the cost of a one-time ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm if you are at risk of the condition.
Note that some of these preventative services are only available to patients who meet certain criteria. Discuss your eligibility with your primary care physician. For a full list of preventative tests and screenings covered by Medicare, click here.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. Because we represent all the major Medicare Advantage and supplement plans in Hawaii, we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.