The Norman Transcript

Features

January 15, 2013

A look at Medicare preventive services

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior,

What types of preventive health screenings does Medicare completely cover, and which ones require a coinsurance fee? I’m due to get some preventive tests done, but I want to find out how much I’ll have to pay before I proceed.

— Frugal Retiree

 

Dear Frugal,

Medicare covers a wide array of preventive services to help you stay healthy, but it’s important to know which services are totally covered and which ones will generate some out-of-pocket costs.

 

Free services

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, original Medicare now offers many of their preventive health services completely free to beneficiaries.

Preventive services include various exams, lab tests and screenings that help find health problems in their earliest stages when they’re easier to treat. They also include a number of vaccinations and programs for health monitoring, as well as counseling and education to help you take care of your own health. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the different Medicare preventive services that won’t cost you a cent, along with the eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to get them.

· Wellness visits: All Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for two types of preventive wellness visits — one when you’re new to Medicare and one each year after that.

But don’t confuse these with full physical examinations. These are prevention-focused visits that provide only an overview of your health and medical risk factors and serve as a baseline for future care. 

· Colorectal cancer screening: The fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy is available to all beneficiaries age 50 or older.

· Mammograms: All women with Medicare ages 40 and older can get a free breast cancer screening mammogram every year.

· Pap tests and pelvic exams: These cervical and vaginal cancer screenings are available every two years, or once a year for those at high risk.

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