Understand Medicare preventative services
Being proactive about your health can often be the best defense against future ailments, one reason why Medicare focuses on a wide range of preventative and screening services.
Medicare is broken down into four parts: A, B, C and D. These correspond to hospital insurance, outpatient medical services, Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans, respectively. As long as you meet certain criteria, your Medicare plan will also provide coverage for numerous preventative services intended to keep you healthy and catch small problems before they become big ones.
Among the many preventative services covered by Part B are:
- Annual wellness visits
- Bone density measurements
- Cardiovascular disease screenings
- Cervical and vaginal cancer screenings
- Diabetes screenings
- Glaucoma tests
- Nutritional therapy services
- Prostate cancer screenings
- Flu shots
- Hepatitis B shots
- Tobacco-use cessation counseling
This is far from a complete list of services, but it shows the diverse nature of preventative measures your Medicare coverage will provide you.
Different services feature separate qualifying criteria. For instance, some services may be for men or women only. Additionally, it's possible these preventative measures may be used only a certain number of times each year. How much the services cost will sometimes depend on whether your primary care doctor accepts the assignment. In most cases, qualifying individuals will pay nothing for preventative measures. Some services may require you to pay a percentage after your deductible.
As opposed to tackling an existing problem, Medicare preventative measures are all about solving one before it begins.
For instance, the yearly wellness visit is available to any Medicare recipient who has had Part B for longer than 12 months. This service features:
- A health risk assessment intended to spotlight any potential health hazards you may be susceptible to
- A review of your medical and family history to gain insight into potential health risks
- Detection of any cognitive impairment that may require future medical help
- Personalized health advice tailored to your specific needs
- A list of risk factors and treatment options
As you can see, all this is designed to give seniors the tools they need to avoid serious health issues in the future, as well as let them know what risks they may be predisposed to. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services encourages seniors to speak to their doctors and health care providers about the different measures and screenings they should receive, as well as how often.