Medicare Preventative Services
Medicare preventive services is health care to prevent or detect illness at an early stage, when treatment is likely to work best. It’s an easy and important way to stay healthy. Services like exams, shots, lab tests, screenings, monitoring, and counseling help with disease prevention, and early detection services.
Your “Welcome to Medicare” Preventive Visit
You can get this introductory visit only within the first 12 months you have Part B. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including these:
- Certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed
- Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
- A calculation of your body mass index
- A simple vision test
- A review of your potential risk for depression and your level of safety, which may be accomplished through probing for sadness, loss of feelings of pleasure, changes in sleep or appetite, feelings of isolation, and suicidal ideation
- An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives
- A written plan letting you know which screenings, shots, and other preventive services you need
This visit is covered one time. You don’t need to have this visit to be covered for yearly “Wellness” visits.
What to bring to your “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit
- Medical records, including immunization records. Even if your current doctor does the visit, gather as much medical information as you can to make sure nothing is overlooked.
- Family health history. Try to learn as much as you can about your family’s health history before your appointment. The information will help you and your doctor better understand what screenings you need to get and what to watch for in the future.
- Prescription drugs. Bring a list of any prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements that you currently take, how often you take them, and why.
Yearly “Wellness” Visit
If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get this visit to develop or update a personalized prevention help plan. This plan is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. Your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit.
It can also include:
- A review of your medical and family history.
- Developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions.
- Height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements.
- Detection of any cognitive impairment.
- Personalized health advice and referrals to health education or preventive counseling services or programs aimed at reducing identified risk factors and promoting wellness. These include weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, fall prevention, and nutrition.
- A list of risk factors and treatment options for you.
- A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services.
- Advance care planning.
Your provider will perform a cognitive assessment to look for signs of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Signs of cognitive impairment include trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, managing finances, and making decisions about your everyday life. If your provider thinks you may have cognitive impairment, Medicare covers a separate visit to do a more thorough review of your cognitive function and check for conditions like dementia, depression, anxiety, or delirium.
If you have a current prescription for opioids, your provider will perform services during your visit.
Medicare & Coronavirus
Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Medicare covers the vaccine for anyone age 5 and older who has Medicare due to their age, disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Be sure to bring your Medicare card.
Medicare covers a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at no cost to you. You can get a booster from the same COVID-19 vaccine that you originally received or choose a different one.
- If you got a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster shot at least five months after you complete your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series.
- If you got a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster shot at least two months after you got your first shot.
- Learn more at Medicare.gov.