Like most health insurance, Medicare covers a variety of preventive care services. The reason? Preventive care is less expensive than treatment. Luckily, what’s good for Medicare’s bottom line is also good for your health.
Once you sign up for Medicare Part B, you are eligible for the Welcome to Medicare preventive visit. Assuming your provider accepts assignment, your out-of-pocket cost for this service is zero. This screening gives your doctor a baseline reading of your current health. Your provider measures a variety of vitals, including height, weight, and blood pressure. They also take a complete medical history and discuss behavioral health issues. The screening also includes a basic vision test and a body mass index calculation.
Your doctor should also offer flu and pneumococcal shots if appropriate and explain advance directives. The visit should end with a written plan that lists other preventive screenings your doctor recommends.
After your first 12 months, Part B covers a Yearly Wellness Exam. This is essentially the same visit and, again, your out-of-pocket cost is zero. Medicare covers this visit every 12 months.
Medicare Part B covers numerous cancer screenings, including:
Patients may need to meet certain criteria regarding age and health status. For example, to qualify for the lung cancer screening, you must be aged 50 to 77 and have smoked an average of one pack per day for 30 years. Out-of-pocket costs vary, from zero to the standard co-insurance amount of 20 percent. Frequency of the screening varies as well.
Chronic conditions are much easier to treat if you catch them early. In fact, you may be able to avoid them altogether.
Medicare Part B covers the following screenings for beneficiaries who qualify. These include:
In addition to preventive screenings, Part B covers certain immunizations. These include:
Medicare Part B covers many services designed to support healthy lifestyle changes. These include:
Guidelines vary but are mostly based on age and medical history. Talk to your doctor to get started.
The short answer is yes, you may apply for Medicare by calling Social Security’s 800 number. The longer answer is yes, but Social Security is warning people to expect long hold times. They predict the 800 number will be overwhelmed with people calling with questions about their benefits, disability applications, etc. SSA is prioritizing “critical claims” calls. This includes Medicare applications for healthcare coverage.