Medicare covers a whole host of tests, screenings, and services to ensure that you are living your best life. These preventive measures are in place to detect and prevent health issues for millions of Medicare beneficiaries like you each year.

Within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare, Medicare provides a “Welcome to Medicare” visit. This visit includes certain screenings, weight, and blood pressure measurements along with a calculation of your body mass index, a simple vision test, a conversation about advance directives, and a written plan letting you know which services you need.

This is different than the “Yearly Wellness Visit” covered by Medicare. During this visit, your doctor will do a cognitive impairment assessment to look for signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Your doctor will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a Health Risk Assessment and with that information they will help create a personalized prevention plan to help prevent disease and disability based on your health and your risk factors. They may do a review of your medical and family history, update your list of providers and prescriptions, and take body measurements like height, weight, and blood pressure. They should also provide you with a screening schedule (a checklist) for appropriate preventive services based on your needs. Did you know that the star ratings of Medicare Advantage plans are based, in part, on whether or not you get your preventive screenings done? Well, they are, and the higher the stars, the more compensation they receive from Medicare, which means richer benefits for you. It’s a WIN-WIN!

Medicare covers the following preventive and screening services at no cost to you, if your health assessment includes certain risk factors for developing certain diseases. Not everyone will qualify for every screening on this list at no cost. For example, Medicare covers Diabetes screenings up to twice each year if you have any of the following risk factors: a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or high blood sugar, or if two or more of these apply to you: you’re age 65 or older, you’re overweight, you have a family history of diabetes, or a history of gestational diabetes. You can get details on the criteria necessary for the preventive screenings listed below at:

• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening

• Alcohol misuse screenings and counseling and Tobacco use and cessation counseling

• Bone Mass Measurements

• Cardiovascular disease screenings and behavioral therapy

• Cervical, vaginal, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer screenings

• Diabetes screenings, self-management training, and Nutrition therapy services

• Depression screenings

• Glaucoma tests

• Hepatitis B & C screening tests

• HIV screening and sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling

• Mammograms

• Obesity screenings and counseling

• Shots: Flu, Hepatitis B, & Pneumococcal (pneumonia) shots

It’s a New Year… see your doctor and make sure all is well with you. We are always here to help answer specific questions about Medicare, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.