Time to Check in on Your Health


Joy Miller K-State Research and Extension Southwind District, Family and Consumer Science News Column, 620-223-3720 or [email protected]


Medicare’s Preventive Services

With the year more than halfway over, now is a great time to check in and see if you are up to date on your preventive care appointments. These services can find health problems early, when treatment works best, and keep you from getting certain diseases.

Twenty four preventative services including exams, shots, lab tests, screenings, counseling, and education are available to help you take care of your own health.

You will need to talk with your doctor or health care provider to find out what tests or other services you may need and how often you need them.

A reminder that health care providers may suggest exams or tests that Medicare does not cover or you might have a deductible or copay. They may also recommend that you have tests more or less often than Medicare covers them.

If you have Medicare Part B, the following ten examinations and screenings are no cost to you.

  • A “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. This is available only in the first 12 months you are on Part B. It includes a review of your medical history, certain screenings and shots, measurements of vital signs, a simple vision test, review of potential risk for depression, an offer to discuss advance directives and a written plan outlining which screenings, shots and other preventive services you need. This visit is covered one time.
  • Annual wellness visit. You’re eligible for this free exam if you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months. The physician will review your medical history; update your list of providers and medications; measure your height, weight, blood pressure and other vital signs; and provide you with personalized health advice and treatment options.
  • Mammogram. An annual screening mammogram is free. If you require a diagnostic mammogram, you’ll pay a 20 percent copay and the Part B deductible will apply.
  • Colonoscopy. A screening colonoscopy once every 24 months is free if you’re at high risk for colorectal cancer. If you aren’t at high risk, Medicare covers this test once every 10 years.
  • Diabetes screening. You’re eligible for two free screenings each year if you have a history of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, are obese or have a history of high blood sugar levels. The screenings will also be free if two or more of these issues apply to you: You are over 65, are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, or you had diabetes when you were pregnant.
  • Prostate cancer screening. An annual PSA test is free. A digital rectal exam will cost you 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount plus the doctor’s services related to the exam. The Part B deductible also applies.
  • Vaccines. Annual flu shots, vaccines to prevent pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, and shots for hepatitis B (for those at high or medium risk) are covered free of charge.
  • Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy). As a Medicare recipient, you also get a free yearly visit with your primary care provider to help you lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Lung cancer screening. An annual test with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is free if you are between 55 and 77, don’t have any signs of lung cancer, are a smoker or have quit in the past 15 years, and you have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (meaning you smoked an average of one pack a day for 30 years).
  • Depression screening. A yearly screening is free if conducted in a primary care center where follow-up and referrals are available. Copays may apply for follow-up care.

For a full list of Medicare’s Preventative Services, visit Medicare.gov/publications to view or print “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services”. You can also register at MyMedicare.gov to get direct access to your preventive health information. You can track your preventive services, get a 2-year calendar of the Medicare-covered tests and screenings you are eligible for, and print a report to take to your next doctor’s appointment.

For additional information, contact the Southwind Extension District, Fort Scott office 620-223-3720. Our website is http://www.southwind.ksu.edu or follow us on Facebook: Southwind Extension District.

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