Many people do not take full advantage of their Medicare benefits.
You have Medicare.
But are you taking full advantage of it?
Many people are not.
They do not know that certain benefits cost them little or nothing in copays.
According to a recent AARP article “10 Free Services Medicare Provides,” their are some expanded Medicare preventative care offerings available.
What do these include?
To take advantage of this service you will need to do so within the first 12 months of being on a Part B Medicare plan.
What is included in this visit?
The doctor will review your medical history, take your vitals, check your vision, give you shots, and runs some tests.
You will also be able to discuss advanced health care directives, as well as create a plan for shots or services you would require.
You can have only one welcome visit covered.
Annual "Wellness" Visit
This visit is similar to the welcome visit.
During this visit the doctor will also review your medical history, update medications, and providers.
She will take your vitals, then give you advice on treatments and health.
All of this is free once a year after the first 12 months of your Part B plan.
What about tests or procedures ordered by your doctor?
These will cost more in a deductible or copay.
This is an important screening for women.
It can help detect breast cancer or other abnormalities early.
A yearly screening will be free.
What about diagnostic mammograms?
These will require a 20 percent copay.
The Part B deductible would also apply in this case.
This screening is not annual.
But really, who wants to go through this every year?
If you are high risk you can get a colonoscopy screening every 24 months.
What if you are not?
This test will be covered one time every ten years.
Do you have a history of abnormal cholesterol, obesity, high blood sugar, or high blood pressure?
If you are, then you could be eligible for two free diabetes screenings.
Are there other ways to qualify?
Are you over age 65?
Do you have a family history of diabetes?
Did you have gestational diabetes?
Are you overweight?
If the answer is yes to two or more of the above questions, you could also be eligible for this free benefit.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Like the mammogram, certain tests will cost you.
These include the digital rectal exam and the physician services related to the exam.
For these, the Part B deductible will apply.
The exam will also cost 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount.
Only the annual PSA test is free.
Certain vaccinations are free.
These include shots to prevent pneumococcal infections and the yearly flu shots.
If you have a medium to high risk of hepatitis B, you can also get this vaccination for free.
If you have a Part A or Part B plan, the shingles vaccine is not covered.
Coverage may be available through a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Cardiovascular Disease Visits
Each year you can get a visit with your doctor.
She will assess your risk and provide behavioral modifications to help lower your risk
Lung Cancer Screening
You can get a low-dose computed typography tests yearly.
Are there qualifiers?
You need to be a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years.
You need to be between 55 and 77 years of age.
You also must have a history of 30 pack years.
What are 30 pack years?
This means you averaged one pack a day for 30 years.
If you go to a primary care center with referrals and follow-up available, you could get this screening for free each year.
It should be noted the follow-up care may require copays.
Now you are better educated on what is available through Medicare as a free service.
You should be proactive and take advantage of them.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: AARP (November 21, 2017) “10 Free Services Medicare Provides”