Free services? Check out what Medicare has to offer free for recipients
Whether you’re new to Medicare or already have a plan, practicing prevention is a great way to be proactive about your health. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cover numerous prevention screenings that allow you to save money now and give you peace of mind later. Free tests and screenings mean you can address potential medical issues while manageable – avoiding costly medications, procedures and surgeries in the future. You’ll feel confident and in control of your health.
Free services include common annual health check-ups, wellness screenings and immunizations. For example, you’ll pay $0 for other less traditional services such as smoking cessation and obesity counseling, depression screening and nutrition therapy services, to name a few. You’ll get the results you need to work together with your doctor to keep you fit.
Here’s a list of screenings, tests and other preventive care services available at no cost to Medicare recipients:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening -- Once per year
- Alcohol misuse screening and counseling -- Once per year
- Annual wellness visit -- Once per year
- Bone density screening -- Once every 2 years
- Cardiovascular disease screening -- Once every 5 years
- Cardiovascular disease behavioral therapy -- Once per year
- Cervical and vaginal cancer screening -- Once every 2 years
- Colorectal cancer screenings
- Multi-target stool DNA test -- Once every 3 years
- Screening barium enema -- Once every 4 years
- Screening colonoscopy -- Once every 10 years, if not high risk
- Screening fecal occult blood test -- Once per year
- Screening flexible sigmoidoscopies -- Once every 4 years, if not high risk
- Depression screening -- Once per year
- Diabetes screening -- Up to 2 screenings per year if qualified
- Flu shot -- Once per year
- Glaucoma test -- Once per year if high risk
- Hepatitis B, or HPB, infection screening -- Once per year if high risk
- Hepatitis B shot -- Once per lifetime if high risk
- Hepatitis C screening test -- Once per year if high risk
- HIV screening -- Once per year if qualified
- Lung cancer screening -- Once per year if qualified
- Mammogram screening -- Once per year
- Nutrition therapy services -- Ongoing if high risk
- Obesity screening and counseling -- Ongoing if BMI is 30 or higher
- Pneumococcal shot -- Up to 2 shots per lifetime
- Prostate cancer screening (blood test) -- Once per year
- Sexually transmitted infections screening -- Once per year if high risk
- Tobacco use cessation counseling -- Up to 8 visits per year if qualified
- Welcome to Medicare preventive visit -- Once per lifetime
Keep in mind that services aren’t considered preventive care when they’re for an existing illness or injury. Some preventative care services require that you meet specific criteria and health conditions, so check with your plan before scheduling an appointment.
There’s no doubt that preventive care helps you stay healthy. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have avoided regular doctor visits. It’s important to practice prevention now more than ever. Seeing your doctor, having regular check-ups and getting your annual flu shot and preventive screenings can reduce your susceptibly to becoming ill. Since there’s no cost for so many services, there’s even more reason to see your doctor and make your annual health screening appointments.
About the expert
Krischa Winright is executive vice president of Senior Health Services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
For more information, visit BCBSM.com.