Medicare Your Coverage Options

Get the preventive care you need: Medicare pays for it

Written by Diane Archer
Preventive care is very important, especially as you age.  As you get older, vision, hearing and balance should be checked annually. And, you should get a flu shot every year as well.  Fortunately, Medicare now pays for many of these services in full, as well as an annual wellness visit.  Here are three things you should know:
  1. Cost:  Medicare covers the cost of many, but not all, preventive services in full.  If you have traditional Medicare, you will need to see a doctor who takes assignment or accepts Medicare’s rate as payment in full.  Fortunately, the vast majority of doctors accept assignment.  Of course, if the doctor finds a problem and needs to do more tests, you may have to pay a deductible or coinsurance for those services.  If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will also be covered for your preventive care in full so long as you see a network doctor.
  2. Services: Medicare covers 100 percent of the cost of an annual wellness visit, as well as screenings for depression, alcohol abuse, colon cancer and prostate cancer, a mammogram, HIV screening, weight counseling and medical nutrition counseling. Medicare pays for the flu shot as well as pneumonia and Hepatitis B vaccines.Medicare covers the shingles vaccine under its Part D drug program. For people with hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of diabetes, it may cover the full cost of an annual diabetes screening. To help lower the risk of heart disease, it may pay for an annual cardiovascular screening. For people without a smoking-related illness, it covers the full cost of smoking cessation. For a full list of the preventive services Medicare covers, visit Medicare Interactive. Medicare only covers 80 percent of the cost of some preventive services, including glaucoma, trainings for diabetes self-management, barium enemas to detect colon cancer, and digital rectal exams to detect prostate cancer.
  3. Frequency: Medicare covers some tests annually and others every few years.  Learn more about Medicare coverage of preventive services on Medicare Interactive.
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