Over the past several months, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has added five new preventive benefits to its roster of free services for Medicare beneficiaries. These new preventive services include:
• An annual depression screening for all Medicare beneficiaries
• An intensive obesity screening and behavioral counseling to help Medicare beneficiaries who are
obese lose weight and sustain weight loss through proper diet and exercise
• An annual cardiovascular screening, which gives primary care providers the opportunity to screen for high blood pressure, provide counseling around maintaining a healthy diet, and when
appropriate, recommend taking aspirin
• An annual alcohol misuse screening for all Medicare beneficiaries, as well as counseling sessions
for individuals found to be misusing alcohol
• An STD/STI screening for Medicare beneficiaries who have certain risk factors
In addition to the new services, Medicare also continues to offer the following preventive services:
• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening • Bone Mass Measurement • Cardiovascular Screenings
• Colorectal Cancer Screenings
• Diabetes Screenings
• Diabetes Self Management Training
• Flu Shots
• Glaucoma Test
• Hepatitis B Shots
• HIV Screening
• Pap Test and Pelvic Exam
• Preventive Visits
• Pneumococcal Shot
• Prostate Cancer Screenings
• Screening Mammogram
• Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling
For beneficiaries that have Medicare Parts A and B, there will not be coinsurance or deductible payments required for these preventive services (as long as the doctor seen accepts Medicare assignment). If a Medicare beneficiary receives Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, they will also pay no out-of-pocket costs. However, the Medicare Advantage plan may require that an in-network provider is used. Cost-sharing may apply if the doctor makes a diagnosis during a service or performs additional tests or procedures.
There are three ways for Medicare beneficiaries to get additional information regarding Medicare’s preventive benefits:
• Get one-on-one help from the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). Call the SHIIP toll-free hotline at 800-234-7119 to make an appointment.
• Visit http://www.medicare.gov to review a comprehensive list of all preventive services offered by Medicare.
• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day/7 days a week to find out more about your covered preventive services. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.