- Written by Lorraine York-Edberg, Western Mass. Regional SHINE Program Director
- Published: 18 May 2017
Are you using Medicare’s free preventive services to stay healthy?
Medicare has been offering free preventive services for over 20 years and has increased preventive benefits to help prevent illness. Preventative services are an easy and great way to stay healthy. Paying attention to your body and keeping up to date on your preventive services will help find health problems early, when treatments work best. Things like exams, lab work, screenings, monitoring, and counseling services are all part of the services offered. Medicare provides and pays for a number of preventive services through Part B of Medicare. Many of these services are free whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO or PPO.
Some of the free services include:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
- Colorectal cancer screening (including colonoscopies)
- Depression screening
- Pap tests and pelvic exams
- Prostate cancer screenings
- Bone mass measurements
- Cardiovascular screening
- Flu and pneumonia shots
- Obesity screening and counseling
There are rules which state when and how often Medicare will pay for the above services. Medicare also covers a “Welcome to Medicare” visit within the first 12 months you have Medicare Part B and then 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/Pubs/pdf/11420.pdf.
SHINE has 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.