Stay Healthy with Medicare’s Wellness Coverage
Are you enrolled in Medicare? Then you know your plan pays for medical care when you get sick. But did you realize that Medicare also pays for doctor visits that keep you healthy?
Medicare covers a range of services that both keep you well and detect diseases early, when they’re easier to treat. Taking advantage of these benefits can mean a longer, healthier life.
How Do You Decide?
Which of the following screenings, vaccinations and services listed below are right for you? Find out when you schedule your annual checkup, or your first-year “Welcome to Medicare” physical.
Ask your doctor about any needed preventive tests or screenings. Also, discuss any health concerns you might have. Below are some common recommendations:
- Diabetes screenings and self-management training. These include screening in asymptomatic patients at age 45. Repeat testing should be performed every 3 years if tests are normal and yearly if you have pre-diabetes. People diagnosed with diabetes should see their physician twice a year. . If you’re being treated for diabetes, you also need an annual retinal eye exam, kidney function test, and comprehensive foot examination, among others. Tests may be performed more often at your doctor’s discretion.
- Bone mass measurement. Once every 24 months, or more often if you have lost bone mass or are at risk for osteoporosis.
- Cardiovascular screenings. Your blood pressure will need to be checked more often if your readings have been high or you are being treated for diabetes or heart disease. Get cholesterol screenings every five years, or more often at your doctor’s recommendation.
- Colorectal cancer screening exams. A flexible sigmoidoscopy or screening barium enema is recommended every four years; or a colonoscopy every 10 years. More frequent tests are recommended if you’re at high-risk for colorectal cancer.
- Glaucoma tests. Annually if you are high risk.
- HIV screening. Annually for high-risk patients.
- Vaccinations for flu, pneumonia and Hepatitis B. Get a flu vaccine every year before the flu season starts. The pneumonia vaccine is recommended once after age 65. It can be also given before age 65 if you are at high risk; however, you may need to revaccinate after 5 years have elapsed. Your doctor may also suggest a Hepatitis B vaccination. Discover what immunizations your local Rite Aid has to offer.
- Tobacco use cessation counseling. Up to 8 face-to-face sessions a year.
- Nutrition therapy for people with end-stage renal disease. Covered as part of your overall dialysis care.
For women only:
- Mammograms. Recommended annually for women age 40 and older.
- Clinical breast exams. Whenever you get a mammogram, pelvic exam or Pap test.
The bottom line: To stay as healthy as possible, get all the screenings, tests and vaccinations your doctor recommends. Talk with your doctor about the schedule that’s best for you, given your medical history and health.
For more details on Medicare coverage, visit www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html.
“Nutrition Therapy Services,” medicare.gov. www.medicare.gov/coverage/nutrition-therapy-services.html.
“Prevention–General Information.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prevention/PrevntionGenInfo/index.html?redirect=/prevntiongeninfo/.
“Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services.” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10110.pdf.
“Your Medicare Coverage: Preventive & Screening Services.” www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html.
ADA Clinical Practice Recommendations 2014 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/Supplement_1