When you join Medicare, you’ll soon learn all the fantastic perks of this popular health insurance coverage. But are you aware of the extra, extra perks? Such as program freebies? Below we’ll uncover the benefits often included with Medicare that are lesser-known among beneficiaries.
While Medicare isn’t exactly free, since you pay Medicare expenses such as deductibles and copays, there are excellent free perks that can accompany already awesome insurance. Remember, there may be limitations on how often you can utilize these services and whether your specific Medicare provider offers these benefits.
These benefits can accompany Original Medicare and even Medicare Advantage plans. Let’s dive right into the top ten Medicare freebies you may not know.
10 Medicare freebies
Let’s look at ten freebies through Medicare that you may not be aware of.
#1 Welcome to Medicare visit
As a Medicare beneficiary, you’re entitled to a free Welcome to Medicare visit with your physician. Remember, this is different from your annual wellness visit.
The Welcome to Medicare visit is considered preventative, and you won’t need to worry about out-of-pocket costs with this appointment. You must complete this visit within your first year of joining Medicare Part B.
It’s this visit where you’ll receive information from your physician on crucial preventative care covered through Medicare. You may also get referrals for specialists depending on your medical notes.
#2 Annual wellness visits
As a Medicare beneficiary, you’ll qualify for free annual wellness visits. This visit helps you and your doctor create a custom healthcare plan to help prevent ailments and diseases based on your specific healthcare conditions. These visits typically go over family health histories, measurements, and more. While there’s no cost for a standard appointment, you may need to pay a deductible if you receive additional tests or treatments.
#3 Bone density tests
Bone density tests (or bone mass measurements) help determine if you’re potentially at risk for breaking any bones. These tests are free to Medicare beneficiaries once every two years. To qualify for these tests, you must have at least one of the following qualifiers:
- You must take Prednisone or other same-type medications
- You must be a woman at-risk of Osteoporosis
- You must have X-Rays that indicate the potential for Osteoporosis
- And more
#4 Cardiovascular behavior therapy
Annually, Medicare recipients can get a free cardiovascular behavioral therapy health visit with their primary care doctor. This doctor’s visit helps patients check blood pressure and reduce any risk of cardiovascular disease.
Counseling services are some of Medicare’s freebies as well. To qualify, you must meet specific eligibility qualifications:
- Tobacco and smoking counseling services – You can get up to 8 sessions within 12-month periods.
- Alcohol counseling services – You can attend up to 4 sessions per year.
#6 Diabetes management training
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you can attend free self-management training. This training is an outpatient service that helps cover how to eat healthily, monitor your blood sugar levels, and administer necessary medications. You can attend up to 10 hours of your initial training and may attend up to two hours of follow-up training every year after that.
#7 Immunizations and vaccines
Immunizations are one of the most popular Medicare freebies available. You’ll qualify for one free influence shot each flu season and a Covid-19 vaccine and boosters. You may also receive two pneumococcal vaccines and 1 Hepatitis B vaccine.
#8 Nutrition therapy
If you have had a kidney transplant, diabetes, or kidney disease, you’ll be eligible for 36 months of free nutritional therapy. Services can include a nutritional lifestyle assessment, group and individual therapy sessions, and necessary follow-up sessions.
#9 Screening tests
Screening tests are some of the included free perks of Medicare services.
Medicare recipients can receive cancer screenings which check for various forms of cancer.
- Lung cancer – One low-dose CT scan each year for former and current smokers ages 50 and 77.
- Prostate cancer – One PSA blood screen per year for men over 50.
- Cervical/vaginal cancer – One free Pap test/pelvic exam every year to two years. It can also include breast exams every year.
- Colorectal cancer – Includes one colonoscopy every year, two years, four years, or six years, depending on your specific health risk.
Mental Health screenings
Medicare offers free mental health screenings.
- Depression – You can have one free screening each year.
- Alcohol misuse – You’ll qualify for one yearly screening if you regularly use alcohol but aren’t dependent on alcohol.
Additional free screenings
There are other additional free screenings available as well. Some of these screenings include the following:
- Obesity – One initial screen.
- HIV – One screen per year, and up to three during pregnancy if pregnant.
- STIs – One time per year.
- Hepatitis C – Up to one per year.
- And more.
#10 The Medicare What’s Covered smartphone app
Medicare launched a Smart App in 2019 called the “What’s Covered” app. This can be utilized to look up services and goods that Medicare will cover. This can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet and is an excellent source of finding whether specific services are covered through Medicare.
What other items are free for Medicare beneficiaries?
In addition to the freebies mentioned above, there may be additional perks with other forms of Medicare coverage.
Original Medicare freebies
Health screenings, counseling services, and vaccines are considered Original Medicare freebies. Beneficiaries can also have a free Welcome to Medicare and annual wellness visits.
Medicare Advantage freebies
Some Medicare Advantage policies offer Special Needs Plans (SNPs). These plans may provide grocery allowances that allow beneficiaries to pay for healthy food following a specific chronic health condition.
Many Advantage plans also offer wellness perks, like the SilverSneakers plan for free. This allows recipients to attend the gym for free and join exercise groups to stay healthy. Some plans also offer OTC allowances for medications, enabling beneficiaries to get monthly or quarterly amounts for drugs and supplies.
Medicare Supplement freebies
Medicare Supplement plans work similarly to Medicare Advantage plans regarding wellness benefits. Many Medigap plans offer programs like SilverSneakers or other programs to allow seniors to stay fit through gym classes and memberships.
Medicare Part D freebies
Medicare Part D beneficiaries who have low or limited incomes may qualify for prescription drug assistance that can allow them to help pay for premiums and cost-sharing expenses. The Part D Low-Income Subsidy program (Extra Help) allows recipients whose incomes fall below certain thresholds to afford their medications still. In addition to providing Part D recipients with drug coverage, beneficiaries can receive vaccines, such as the Covid-19 vaccine, at no cost with Part D coverage.
Is Medicare free?
US citizens can qualify for premium-free Part A coverage through Medicare if they’ve worked a minimum of 40 quarters in a job where they paid into Medicare payroll taxes and are at least 65 years old. Beneficiaries still have out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare, so it’s not an entirely free program.
Does Medicare provide free gym memberships?
Original Medicare doesn’t provide free gym memberships. However, some Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans may provide free gym memberships.
What do I have to pay for Medicare?
Typically, you’ll pay a 20% coinsurance for every Medicare-covered item or service once you’ve met your annual deductible. You’ll also be responsible for a monthly premium for Part B coverage of $174.70.
Which has more freebies; Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Supplement?
Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans supply many freebies for recipients. However, Medicare Advantage plans typically have more freebies but can vary drastically depending on your personalized plan.
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