Once you’ve enrolled in Medicare, understanding what it covers is incredibly important. It helps you to know what options you have and how you can take advantage of certain preventative care services. Whether you have Original Medicare or an Advantage Plan, Medicare Part B is what covers preventative care. Knowing what services are included means you can better manage your health and avoid major medical problems later on.
What Constitutes Preventative Care?
Preventative services include healthcare and medical services intended to help prevent certain conditions and diseases. It aids in maintaining a healthy life, early detection, and receiving guidance from your physicians.
These services can include things like health and wellness screenings, shots, doctor visits, x-rays, and some lab exams.
Since prevention is a big part of maintaining optimal health, this sort of coverage is often crucial.
During the first 12 months after your successful enrollment, you’ll be eligible for a “Welcome to Medicare” preventative care visit. This visit will also allow you to find out more about the preventative care services.
After the first year has passed, you’ll get one “Annual Wellness Visit.” Like your initial visit, this will help you keep track of your health care needs. It’s also an opportunity to learn about any needed screenings or other services you might require.
Knowing What’s Covered
The Medicare website does have a tool that lists all of the covered preventative services. Screenings covered include: abdominal aortic aneurysm, alcohol misuse, cardiovascular disease, cervical and vaginal cancer, colorectal cancer, and depression for starters. Also included are screenings for diabetes, hepatitis c, HIV, lung cancer, obesity, prostate cancer, and sexually transmitted infections. Mammograms and glaucoma tests are also typically covered as a preventative service.
Some vaccines are also covered, like flu shots, hepatitis b shots, and pneumococcal shots.
Some mental health care services like certain types of counseling are also covered under Medicare Part B. However, the Medicare assignment must be accepted by the medical professional. This can include visits with psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and clinical nurse specialists.
What Charges May Arise
While Original Medicare does cover a large number of preventative care services, you could still be charged for related services. We know, it can be a bit confusing. You’ll want to be careful to find out if there could be additional charges like facility fees, tests, or diagnostics.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your coverage can vary quite a bit depending on the insurer and plan. In this case, you’ll want to find out specifically what is covered by your advantage plan. It may include any number of things that are not covered by Original Medicare Part B. It may also involve additional co-pays, deductibles, or additional conditions depending on the insurer’s specific guidelines. When in doubt, check with your insurer to avoid hidden costs.