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Medicare’s Preventative Maintenance and Wellness Coverage

We all know that preventative maintenance is the way to go if you want to keep your vehicle running longer, but many of us fail to consider that our body is just like a car – and we need to follow preventative maintenance plans to keep things running smoothly. Many people may not know that Medicare plans allow for costs associated with staying healthy.

One of the most important of these covered costs is your Welcome to Medicare doctor’s visit, which is free of charge if the doctor accepts the assignment. You can consider this visit one that records your baseline health status. This is your chance to let your doctor know everything about your medical and social history, as well as a chance to get more information about how you can stay healthy. In addition to traditional screens such as blood pressure, heart rate, and weight you will also receive a simple vision test and learn about important screenings and shots you may need. If you are or were a longtime smoker or are considered in any other way at risk for at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms, you may also receive a referral for a free one-time ultrasound screening. In order to receive this Welcome to Medicare benefit, be sure you go to your doctor within one year of the start of your benefits.

If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can now get a yearly wellness check-up to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. Your doctor will again review your medical, family, and social history, set up an appropriate screening schedule should you fall into one of the at-risk categories for certain diseases or health problems, provide you with a list of current providers and prescriptions you may need, and again, run an overall health check on you.

Glaucoma is an eye disease where the pressure of the eye builds up and eventually results in loss of vision. Often, there are no symptoms of this pressure, so it is important for you to get yearly screenings if you are considered at-risk.  Medicare benefits will pay 80% of approved costs after the yearly Part B deductible. At-risk groups include those patients with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, Hispanics 65 years and older, and African-Americans 50 years and older. You should know that early detection of glaucoma can significantly reduce the long-term effects of the disease, which includes not only loss of peripheral vision, but also total blindness. You can have your eyes checked one every 12 months.

Other screenings covered or partially covered under Medicare preventative maintenance and wellness plans are those for diabetes, HIV, breast exams (includes yearly mammograms), cervical and vaginal screens (every 24 months), prostate cancer (yearly), and colon cancer (varied coverage), cardiovascular screenings (which covers tests for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels). Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs that can help you treat a disease or condition found by preventive screening tests, such as high cholesterol.

To find out more information please visit http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10110.pdf.


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