By – Susan Beckman
That’s right! Once you turn 65 and sign up for Medicare, you are entitled to a variety of preventive tests and services. In some cases, you might have to pay a copay for the doctor visit, but won’t have to pay for the test itself. Check ahead of time to be sure your doctor will accept the Medicare payment for the test that’s being done. Here are some of the free preventive services Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to take advantage of.
- “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit (one time) – A one-time review of your health, education and counseling about preventive services, and referrals for other care if needed. Be sure to get it within 12 months of signing up for Medicare Part B.
- Yearly “wellness” exam – If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly wellness visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors.
- Bone mass measurement or bone density test, every two years.
- Cardiovascular disease screening
- Colorectal Cancer screening:
Colonoscopy – This colorectal cancer screening is covered for free once every 120 months (or 24 months for high risk patients).
Screening Fecal Occult Blood test – This test is covered once every 12 months if you are 50 or older.
Screening Flexible Sigmoidoscopy- Generally covered once every 48 months if you are 50 and older, or 120 months after a previous colonoscopy for those not at high risk.
- Depression screening – Medicare provides free depression screenings that are conducted in a doctor’s office or other primary care setting.
- Diabetes screening
- Flu shots
- Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram) – Once every 12 months for all women 40 and older.
- Cervical and Vaginal Cancer Screening- One every two years, or more often if at high risk.
- Pneumococcal shot
- Prostate cancer screening – Medicare covers the blood test that detects the amount of prostate specific antigen in the blood once every 12 months with no out-of-pocket cost. However, you will likely have to pay 20 percent of the cost of a digital rectal exam.
- Hepatitis B shots – Covered for people at medium or high risk for hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C Screening – Covered for people meeting certain conditions.
- HIV Screening – One every 12 months for people ages 15-65 or are considered high risk.
- Obesity Screening and Counseling – Covered for Medicare recipients with a BMI greater than 30.
- Smoking and Tobacco-use Cessation – Up to 8 visits in a 12 month period.