One of the best things you can do in your later years is take active measures to stay healthy. Good health and disease prevention can happen through developing habits. In addition to daily behaviors, it’s a good idea to make regular appointments with your doctor. Being proactive about your health can vastly improve outcomes and help manage (or even prevent) chronic health conditions. Preventive services can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and independent.
If you’re worried about cost, you should know that Medicare —Part B specifically—typically includes coverage for preventive services and care. But how do you know what preventive services are covered, and which ones aren’t? Learn more about preventive care services and Medicare coverage.
What is preventive care?
Preventive care includes a whole range of services and programs to help monitor your health. It includes exams, lab tests, screenings, vaccinations and annual exams. Medicare Part B even allows for a comprehensive yearly “Wellness” visit, in addition to other covered preventive services.
Preventive care isn’t limited to doctor’s visits. It also includes counseling for addiction, cancer screenings, diabetes screenings and even mental health screenings. This full range of services is subject to annual limits. Be sure to consult Medicare’s list of preventive and screening services for more detailed information.
Medicare Advantage Coverage for Preventive Services
If you decide to sign up for a Medicare Advantage—Medicare Part C—plan instead of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you still get access to many of the preventive services covered by the latter. There are some key distinctions, however. While Medicare Advantage does cover an annual wellness visit, it does not cover yearly physicals.
Wellness visits assess your function and cognitive abilities and evaluate risk factors for depression. They are not “head-to-toe” physical examinations and shouldn’t be treated as such. There are other preventive services that aren’t covered by Medicare Advantage, so be sure to consult your carrier’s list of covered services before scheduling any test or appointment.
In addition, Medicare Advantage plans require you to visit an in-network primary care provider. If you visit an out-of-network doctor or one who doesn’t accept Medicare, you’ll incur out-of-pocket charges. Before you make your appointment, check your Medicare Advantage plan’s list of in-network doctors and providers to confirm that your preferred provider is on the list. Failure to do so may result in higher charges, even if they accept your Medicare Advantage plan as insurance.
Examples of Preventive Care Services
Preventive care can take all sorts of forms, from wellness visits and mental health screenings to blood tests and lab work. Some of the most common examples of preventive care covered by Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans include:
- Hepatitis B and C infection screening
- HIV screening
- Lung cancer screening
- Colon cancer screening
- Diabetes screening
- Glaucoma tests
- Alcohol misuse screenings
In addition to the screenings themselves, many of the above tests are often accompanied by counseling and consultations to help reduce your overall risk of disease or to manage symptoms and keep conditions from worsening. For the full list of preventive care services covered by Medicare, consult the Medicare Preventive Services handbook.
Why is preventive care important?
Preventive care is vital for staying healthy as we get older. Aging brings increased risks of disease such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. These illnesses can greatly impact your health and lead to diminished quality of life. By combining preventive care with regular exercise and a balanced diet, you can have peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to remain healthy.
Learn more about your Medicare coverage today with SelectQuote.
Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans cover a wide variety of preventive health services that can keep you active and improve your quality of life. If you’re new to Medicare, you may have questions about what’s covered by your plan. You’ll also want to ensure that your preferred health provider accepts Medicare and is part of your plan’s in-network list of providers.
At SelectQuote, we can help you understand the full range of preventive care options available. We can work with you to find a Medicare plan that accepts your existing preferred provider and lowers your healthcare costs as much as possible. To learn more about our options for Medicare coverage, get started on your free, no obligation quote today.