| Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Don’t Leave Medicare Benefits on the Table. Use Them!

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Medicare part bMedicare is not just for when you’re sick or injured. Some Medicare benefits are designed to help you get and stay healthy. Your annual Medicare Wellness Visit is one such benefit you don’t want to pass up. It’s covered by Medicare Part B. You pay no deductible and no copay for the visit.

When you feel well, going to the doctor may be the last thing on your mind. But it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. Want to know why? Watch this short video.

Your Medicare Wellness Visit is time for you and your doctor to discuss your health concerns and create a personal prevention plan together. Your plan may include recommendations for other preventive services, such as exams, screenings, shots and lab tests. There may be a charge for some of these other services.

Getting the Most from Your Visit

The more prepared you are for your Medicare Wellness Visit, the more time you and your doctor may have to discuss your health. Think about any questions or concerns you have ahead of time. Even things that may seem unimportant to you could help your doctor get a complete picture of your health and well-being.

Here are some things you may want to take with you to your appointment:

  • All the medications you take (prescription, non-prescription, vitamins, supplements and herbal); it may be easiest to just put the bottles in a bag and take them with you
  • A list of all the health care providers you see, including names and contact information
  • Your completed health history form and health risk assessment, if sent to you by your doctor’s office ahead of time
  • A list of questions and concerns you want to discuss with your doctor

Focus on Prevention

Your Medicare Wellness Visit is a preventive care visit. It’s not the same as an annual physical. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor right upfront what the visit includes and what it doesn’t. That way you and your doctor can stay focused and not go into areas that may incur charges.

In general, the visit includes:

  • A review of your medical and family history
  • Developing or updating a list of current prescriptions and providers
  • Height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements
  • Detection of any cognitive impairment (memory loss, confusion, etc.)
  • Personalized health advice
  • A list of your health risk factors and treatment options
  • A checklist of the preventive services recommended for you

Medicare Part B covers one Medicare Wellness Visit every 12 months. The same is true if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. Check your plan materials to see if any additional preventive services are covered.

Are You Due for a Medicare Wellness Visit?

Preventive care may help you improve your health and stay healthier longer. It can help find health problems early, when they are most treatable. It may even help protect you from getting certain diseases.

Check the date of your last Medicare Wellness Visit. If you are due, make an appointment today. Your Medicare benefits are meant to be used!

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Staying Healthy: Download Medicare’s guide to preventive services.

Finding Answers: Get tips on where to go for answers to your Medicare questions.

Medicare Preventive Services: Learn about the preventive and screening services Medicare covers.

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