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SHINE: Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone

Medicare’s free preventive services

Lorraine York EdbergLorraine York-Edberg, Western Mass. Regional SHINE Program DirectorMedicare over the past 20 years increased the benefits to help prevent illness through preventive care services. An important goal for Medicare is to help people stay healthy by encouraging prevention.  Medicare provides and pays for a number of preventive services through Part B. Many of these services are free, whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO.

Some of the free services include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening (including colonoscopies)
  • Mammograms
  • Pap tests and pelvic exams
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Cardiovascular screening
  • Flu and pneumonia shots
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Depression screening
  • Obesity screening and counseling

There are rules that state when and how often Medicare will pay for the above services. Medicare also covers a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and “Annual Wellness Visits” in following years. However, these visits are not the same as an annual physical exam. Annual physicals are not covered by Medicare, but they are covered by Medicare Advantage plans. For a complete list of free preventive services, go to www.medicare.gov or see a SHINE counselor. We have the most updated copies of the Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services available at our Regional office and would be happy to mail a copy to those who are interested. Please contact us at the number below to get your copy.

The SHINE program (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone…on Medicare) provides free, confidential, and unbiased health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. To reach a trained and certified counselor in your area, contact the Regional Office at 1-800-498-4232 or 413-773-5555 or contact your local Council on Aging.