· Prostate cancer screenings: Annual PSA blood tests are available to all male beneficiaries age 50 and older.
· Cardiovascular screenings: Free blood test to check cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels are offered every five years to all Medicare recipients.
· Diabetes: Screening available twice a year for those at risk.
· Bone mass measurements: This osteoporosis test is available every two years to those at risk or more often if medically necessary.
· Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening: To check for bulging blood vessels, this test is available to men ages 65 to 75 who have ever smoked.
· Vaccinations: An annual flu shot, a vaccination against pneumonia and the hepatitis B vaccine are free to all beneficiaries.
In addition, Medicare also offers free smoking cessation counseling, medical nutrition therapy to help beneficiaries with diabetes or kidney disease, depression screenings, alcohol screening and counseling, obesity screening and counseling, annual cardiovascular risk reduction visits, sexually transmitted infection screening and counseling, and HIV screenings.
Medicare also offers several other preventive services that require some out-of-pocket cost-sharing. With these tests, you’ll have to pay 20 percent of the cost of the service (Medicare picks up the other 80 percent), after you’ve met your $147 Part B yearly deductible.
The services that fall under this category include digital rectal exams for prostate cancer, glaucoma tests and diabetes self-management training services.
For detailed information on all Medicare preventive services, see medicare.gov/share-the-health or call Medicare at 800-633-4227 and ask them to mail you a free copy of “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Service” (publication 10110).
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll be happy to know that all Advantage plans are also now required to cover the same free preventive services as original Medicare.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.