If you are a Medicare beneficiary who is currently enrolled in Part B, there are a wide range of preventive services and screenings provided by the federal government at little to no out-of-pocket cost. Most individuals qualify for Medicare by turning 65 years old. Younger people may qualify by virtue of various disabilities or illnesses.
For starters, Medicare pays for a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. You must take advantage of this service within the first 12 months of your Medicare Part B enrollment. The visit involves your doctor reviewing your medical history and providing education and counseling regarding social behaviors that affect your medical conditions as well as recommendations for further preventive services.
After you’ve had your Medicare Part B coverage for more than 12 months, you become eligible for an annual wellness visit. This visit is similar to the “Welcome to Medicare” session mentioned previously. It also includes the development and updating of a personalized plan for preventing diseases and disabilities based on your current health and your personal risk factors. You’ll fill out a questionaire called a Health Risk Assessment. Your doctor will then use that questionaire to tailor the rest of your wellness visit for maximum benefit.
Services covered at no cost
The following services are covered by Part B preventive screenings. While most of these screenings are provided at no additional cost if you are enrolled in Part B, some of them do have eligibility requirements and frequency limitations. Check the appropriate section of Medicare’s official Preventive Services webpage to learn more about a specific test.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening: Medicare covers a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound for people at risk. You’re considered at risk if you have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms, or you’re a man 65–75 and have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime.
Alcohol misuse screening and counseling: Adults with Medicare (including pregnant women) who use alcohol, but don’t meet the medical criteria for alcohol dependency
Bone mass measurements: Medicare covers bone mass measurements to see if you’re at risk for broken bones due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease where your bones become weak and brittle. In general, the lower your bone density, the higher your risk for a fracture. Bone mass measurement results will help you and your doctor choose the best way to keep your bones strong.
Breast cancer screening (mammograms): Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the U. S. Every woman is at risk, and this risk increases with age. Breast cancer usually can be treated successfully when found early. Medicare covers screening mammograms and digital technologies to check for breast cancer before you or a doctor may be able to find it manually
Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy)
Cardiovascular disease screening: Medicare covers cardiovascular disease screenings that check your cholesterol and other blood fat (lipid) levels. High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. These screenings will tell if you have high cholesterol.
Cervical and vaginal cancer screening: Medicare covers Pap tests and screening pelvic exams to check for cervical and vaginal cancers. As part of the pelvic exam, Medicare also covers a clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer.
Colorectal cancer screening: Medicare covers colorectal cancer screening tests to help find precancerous polyps (growths in the colon), so polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. The test is important to help find colorectal cancer at an early stage when treatment works best.
Diabetes screening and self-management training: Medicare covers a blood screening test to check for diabetes for people at risk. For people with diabetes, Medicare covers educational training to help manage their diabetes.
Diabetes self-management training: This training is for people with diabetes to teach them to manage their condition and prevent complications. You must have a written order from a doctor or other health care provider.
Glaucoma tests: Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by high pressure in the eye. It can develop gradually without warning and often without symptoms. The best way for people at high risk for glaucoma to protect themselves is to have regular eye exams.
Hepatitis C screening test
HIV screening: Medicare covers voluntary HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) screenings for people at increased risk for the infection, including anyone who asks for the test and pregnant women.
Lung cancer screening
Medical nutrition therapy: Medicare may cover medical nutrition therapy if you have diabetes or kidney disease, and your doctor refers you for this service.
Obesity screening and counseling: Medicare covers intensive behavioral therapy for people with obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Prostate cancer screening: Prostate cancer may be found by testing the amount of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) in your blood. Another way prostate cancer may be found is when your doctor performs a digital rectal exam. Medicare covers both of these tests.
Sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling: Medicare covers sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and/or Hepatitis B.
Shots (flu, pneumococcal, and Hepatitis B)
Tobacco use cessation counseling