The government reports that fewer than one in 10 recipients is getting all the screenings and immunizations recommended by public health groups.

Anyone with Medicare Part B has access to the following preventive services:

  • Initial physical exam. If your Medicare Part B coverage begins on or after January 1, 2005, Medicare will cover a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive physical exam within the first six months that you have Part B. Additionally, those at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms may be referred for a one-time ultrasound at their initial exam.
  • Cardiovascular screening. Medicare covers one test every five years to check your cholesterol and other blood fat levels.
  • Cancer tests. Medicare covers breast cancer screening (mammograms) once a year for women over age 40; cervical and vaginal cancer screening (pap test and pelvic exam) once every two years for all women; colon cancer screening (colorectal) every year to every four years, depending on the test; and prostate cancer screening (PSA) every year for men.
  • Shots. Medicare covers flu, pneumococcal, and Hepatitis B immunizations.
  • Bone mass measurements. Medicare covers bone mass measurements to check if you are at risk for fracture due to osteoporosis. The test is covered once every 24 months.
  • Diabetes. Medicare covers up to two diabetes screenings per year. In addition, it covers glucose monitors, test strips, and lancets for individuals with diabetes and offers self-management training.
  • Glaucoma tests. One glaucoma test is covered each year for people at high risk for glaucoma.
  • Counseling to quit smoking. Medicare recipients who are diagnosed with a smoking-related disease, including heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), multiple cancers, lung disease, weak bones, blood clots, and cataracts, can get coverage for smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling.
  • Medical nutrition therapy. Medical nutrition therapy services are covered for people with diabetes orrenal disease when referred by a doctor.

For some of these tests, beneficiaries in regular Medicare pay nothing; for other tests, Part B’s copayment applies.

To download a copy of Medicare’s Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services, click here.

For more information from about what preventive services are covered, click here

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