A Pound of Prevention: Medicare Offers a Wide Range of Free Preventive Service

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Many people don’t realize that Medicare not only covers you when you’re sick, it can also help keep you from getting that way in the first place.

Medicare Part B offers a range of important preventive services through both original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. In most instances, these services are free of charge (no copay or deductible) if you receive them from a provider that accepts Medicare and/or participates with your Medicare Advantage plan.

Here’s a list of Medicare’s free preventive services:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Annual wellness visit
  • Body mass screenings and behavioral counseling
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Cardiovascular disease risk reduction visits
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Heart disease screening
  • Hepatitis C screening
  • HIV screening
  • Immunizations and vaccines
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Mammogram screening
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Pap smears, pelvic exams and breast exams
  • Prostate cancer screenings
  • Sexually transmitted infection screening and counseling
  • Smoking cessation counseling
  • Welcome to Medicare preventive visit

Preventive services covered by original Medicare that require a deductible or coinsurance include:

  • Colorectal Cancer Screenings (Part B covers a barium enema once every 24 months if you are age 50+ and at high risk, or once every 48 months if you are 50+ and not at high risk (but not within 48 months of a flexible sigmoidoscopy).
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Glaucoma screening

Not All Preventive Care is Free

There are a few preventive Medicare services that are not free of charge and that you will need to pay for at the point of care, including those offered by a Medicare Advantage plan that are not included as part of original Medicare’s covered services.

Also keep in mind that your doctor may discover – and need to investigate or treat – a new or existing medical problem during your preventive care visit. If that’s the case, the additional care is considered diagnostic, meaning you are being treated because of certain symptoms or risk factors. As a result, Medicare may bill you for any diagnostic care you receive during your visit, including additional tests and procedures.

To learn more about Medicare’s preventive services, click here.