If you are like most people, you really don’t want to visit your doctor more than necessary. But what qualifies as necessary?
Most people only go to the doctor when they are sick, injured or need to have a prescription renewed. A smaller percentage of people have an annual physical.
When you first become eligible for Medicare you are entitled to your Welcome to Medicare preventative visit without cost, but did you know that if you’ve had Medicare for more than 12 months you may qualify for several other preventative screenings?
The Affordable Care Act of 2011 (A.K.A. ObamaCare) legislated some new Medicare benefits, including a host of preventative screenings.
Although some of these services may not apply to you, you should take advantage of these preventative screenings. Detecting illness early has been shown to cut down on inpatient stays and debilitating chronic illnesses down the road
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List of Medicare Preventative screenings available without a Part B deductible or copayment
- Cervical cancer screening, including pap smear and pelvic exam
- Prostate cancer screening (except digital rectal exam)
- Colorectal cancer screening (except barium enema)
- Cholesterol and cardiovascular screenings
- Bone mass measurement
- Diabetes screening
- HIV screening if you are at increased risk or ask for testing
- Flu shot pneumonia shot and hepatitis B shot
- Medical nutrition therapy to help manage diabetes or kidney failure
Additionally, you can get help through a tobacco use cessation program even if you have not been diagnosed with a tobacco related disease. if you have already been diagnosed, you will have to pay the co-insurance and Part B deductible.
When making your appointment ask if there will be any cost for the office visit portion of the appointment. Some screenings may require you to pay co-insurance for the visit. Learn more at medicare.com.
The economics of Medicare preventative services
Some people live by the philosophy, that if it isn’t broke… don’t fix it, but routine maintenance will generally save you money in the long run. Just look at your automobile.
Although some people believe that the government is making Medicare more benefit-rich as some altruistic scheme, the truth is that if disease is detected earlier, less will be spent fixing a problem that could have been avoided.
From your perspective, if you are willing to trade a little time for an office visit you may be able to stay healthier longer and avoid more expense down the road.
You are paying a Part B premium every month as a deduction from you Social security income and have every right to take advantage of all the benefits offered including those that are designed to detect disease early.