In the U.S., seniors typically pay more for healthcare compared to other groups. For instance, according to estimates from Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-aged couple retiring in 2021 will spend about $300,000 in medical costs. Fortunately, Medicare enrollees can access certain no-cost health services, allowing them to keep their healthcare costs relatively low. It’s important to note that in order to benefit from these freebies, your health care provider must be part of the Medicare network. Additionally, there could be limitations on how often you can receive the services. Here’s a detailed look at Medicare’s no-cost services that can help prevent serious health problems as well as save you money.
1. Part A Premiums
Medicare’s Part A coverage mainly covers inpatient care as well as hospital stays. Conversely, Medicare Part B coverage mainly covers the services that health care providers offer in their offices. If you paid your Medicare payroll taxes in your working years, you likely won’t need to pay Medicare Part A coverage’s monthly premiums. The premium-free Part A coverage is specifically available to 65-years-old or older people if they are already receiving (or are eligible for) retirement benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security. Also, it’s available to individuals aged 65 or older (and their spouses) that were covered by Medicare via government employment.
2. Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit
You shouldn’t confuse Welcome to Medicare preventive visit with the annual wellness visit. Once you begin your Part B coverage, you can access a one-time cost-free Welcome to Medicare session during the first 12-months. During the visit, your health care provider will inform you about the preventive services that you’re entitled to under Medicare and may refer you for other care services based on your social and medical background.
3. Annual Wellness Visit
Medicare covers an annual wellness visit whose purpose is to create or update a customized health plan that will help prevent disability and disease. This medical visit may also include:
- A review of your family and medical history
- Updating or developing a prescriptions and health care providers list
- Personalized health advice
- Assessment of cognitive health
- Routine measurements such as blood pressure and weight
Medicare covers one influenza shot for every flu season. It also covers two pneumococcal shots, which protect against infections emanating from Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria, including sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. Depending on your vulnerability, Medicare may also cover hepatitis B vaccines.
5. Cancer Screenings
Medicare covers some cancer screenings, including:
- Prostate cancer – includes annual PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests for men who are over 50 years old.
- Vaginal and cervical cancer – includes and a pelvic exam, Pap test, and breast exam annually or every two years, dependent on your vulnerability.
- Lung cancer – includes a low-dose computed tomography (C.T.) scan annually for certain former and current smokers aged between 55 and 77 years.
- Colorectal cancer – one colonoscopy annually or every two years, depending on your vulnerability.
6. Mental Health Screenings
Medicare covers the following aspects of mental health:
- Depression – one annual screening
- Alcohol misuse – one annual screening if you drink are considered alcohol dependent
7. Other Health Screenings
Medicare also covers health screening for the following conditions:
- Obesity – one preliminary screening
- Cardiovascular disease – a blood test after every five years
- Diabetes – two tests per year
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm – one test in a lifetime
- Sexually transmitted infections – one screening in a year
- HIV – three tests per year
- Hepatitis C – one test in a year
- Tobacco and smoking counseling – eight sessions per year
- Alcohol counseling – four sessions in a year
Bone Density Tests
A bone density test/bone mass measurement helps determine if you’re at higher risk of developing osteoporosis or other bone disorder(s). Medicare covers two tests annually, or more if medically required, for eligible recipients.
To be eligible, you should meet one or more of these requirements:
- Be a woman with low estrogen levels and vulnerable to osteoporosis
- Take steroid-type or prednisone
- Have X-rays that reveal vertebral fractures, osteopenia, or osteoporosis
- Have primary hyperthyroidism diagnosis
- In a drug therapy for osteoporosis that’s being monitored for effectiveness
Cardiovascular Behavioral Therapy
Medicare covers one annual cardiovascular behavioral therapy session with your primary care provider. The visit is meant to reduce your chances of developing a cardiovascular condition, and it entails the provision of healthy eating information as well as an assessment of your blood pressure.
Diabetes Management Training
If you’re diabetic, Medicare covers self-management training. This training covers topics like blood sugar monitoring, healthy eating, as well as administration of medication.
If you have kidney disease, diabetes, or have had a kidney transplant during the last 36 months, you are eligible for medical nutritional therapy.
The What’s Covered App/Your Medical Coverage Tool
People who qualify for Medicare and their caregivers and families can access one-on-one and in-depth assistance and counseling through the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). These programs are especially useful during the enrollment season, but they also offer more services, including:
- Information on what Medicare covers
- Information on assistance programs that you’re eligible for
- Explain the Medicare eligibility criteria
- Explain how Medicare works together with other additional insurance policies such as Medicaid.
These no-cost Medicare services can go a long way in preventing serious illness. For more information about Medicare and Medicare freebies, contact our experts at Medicare Advisors today.