Free Services from Medicare
Free Services from Medicare
Last week you got together with a friend a year or two older than you. You noticed they were limping when they walked. When you asked them about it, they told you they had fallen over a week ago and hurt their leg. They also said they were treating it themselves and had not seen a doctor.
As a Good Friend, Wouldn’t You Urge Them to Go to a Doctor and Have it Checked Out?
Wouldn’t you follow up with them to see if they took your advice? Isn’t that something a good friend does?
I consider you a friend of mine. One of my concerns is for your health. I desire you to be as healthy as you can be. I don’t want you to end up with a severe medical condition that could have been avoided if you took steps to control it when the problem started.
Many older people feel they can diagnose and treat their own problems and wait to get treatment for one of these until the problem has become severe. That’s not the way it should be.
Some men just won’t go to a doctor. They put off seeing one for far too long. I was that way. I had to be very sick before I saw a doctor. In 2004, I had to have a double coronary bypass. Since then I have changed my ways. I see my family doctor and cardiologist regularly.
At times money is the issue. People won’t see a doctor because of the cost. Seeing a doctor is not a high priority for them. They would rather waste their money on something else rather than spend it on something important.
Would You Act Differently if You Can Get Something for Free?
I believe you would. In fact, right now you’re probably saying to yourself it would be senseless not to take advantage of anything you don’t have to pay for.
Let me tell you about 2 things you can get for free if you are enrolled in Medicare.
The first is a “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit and “yearly” Wellness visits.
There is a condition here. To get these without paying for them, you have to be covered for Medicare Part B. Most Americans are.
The “Welcome to Medicare” Preventative Visit is . . .
. . . only available to people who take advantage of it during their first 12 months of coverage under Part B.
Here is what is covered. You can find it on the Medicare website:
“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
- An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives.”
A person does not have to take advantage of this “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit and “yearly” Wellness visits.
People Enrolled for Medicare Part B for Longer Than 12 Months Can Get a Free “Yearly” Wellness Visit
This visit is designed to help them to develop or update their own personalized prevention help plan. This is what is said about it on the Medicare website:
“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
- A list of risk factors and treatment options for you
- A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services. Get details about coverage for screenings, shots, and other preventive services.
- Advance care planning..”
You pay nothing for either the “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit or the “yearly” Wellness visits. However, you would have to pay for any tests you doctor requests which are not covered by either.
The Second Thing You Can Get for Free is an Annual Flu Shot
Here again you need to be covered under Medicare Part B.
You can get a flu shot for free if the doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts Medicare. Currently most pharmacies are a qualified health care provider and you can get the flu shot right at the pharmacy.
If you have not received a flu shot before, it’s best to check with your doctor to see what flu shot you should get. If you have any medical condition, your doctor may recommend a double dose. This will give you better protection during the flu season.
Avoid Getting Your Flu Shot Too Early
Frequently pharmacies will start to advertise they have flu shots available as early as August. You may want to delay getting one until late September or October before getting it. The protection from the flu will last longer.
During the last several years there have been news reports that the flu vaccine was not as effective as it should have been. Don’t let reports like than be the reason you don’t get a shot. Even those shots offered people protection that they would not have had.
The flu can cause a severe illness for a person over 60 especially if they have a heart problem, diabetes or another severe medical condition.