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Medicare 2011: Wellness Visits at No Charge

Starting on January 1, 2011, Medicare patients can plan to see a primary care physician every year for a physical, with no concern about payment.

If you are new to Medicare, you will be covered with a one-time “Welcome of Medicare” exam.

After you’ve had Part B for 12 months, you can schedule a yearly “Wellness” visit to develop or update a prevention plan just for you. You’ll pay nothing for this exam if the doctor accepts assignment. This exam is covered once every 12 months.

According to Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, as a result of health reform, people with Medicare will no longer have to pay coinsurance, copays, or deductibles for preventive services that are given a grade A or B by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. 

At your annual visit, Baker says, you can expect the doctor to take your family history, collect information about your current health condition, the drugs you are current taking, check blood pressure, and screen you for “conditions related to cognitive impairments.”

The changes made in Medicare continue to show a shift in focus to prevention and wellness. Other services which are covered include other preventative services such as:

  • Diabetes screening
  • Diabetes services and supplies
  • Testing for heart disease
  • Mammogram screening
  • Pap smears and pelvic exams
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Flu shots
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Medical nutritional therapy

 

For a complete list of Medicare preventative services (and a printable checklist), click here.

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