Barbara Fradkin – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: Is preventative care covered by insurance?
A: Preventative health screening is one of the most important health care decisions you can make. These screenings can mean early diagnosis and treatment, improved quality of life– and a longer life. Medicare has now jumped on the band wagon! These screenings use modern technology to identify potential problems before you have symptoms.
A lot of common illnesses are “silent” in their early stages: cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, abdominal aneurysm, and atrial fibrillation are just a few. Preventative screenings help you learn what your body is NOT (yet) telling you.
Evaluating your risk for disease lets you work with your doctor to develop an early action plan. While some risk factors are outside of your control (age, family history, etc.), preventative screenings provide new information. And knowledge is power.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Fewer than half of adults age 65 years or older are up-to-date with core preventative services, despite regular checkups.
- That number drops to fewer than 30 percent for adults ages 50-64.
- Vaccinations are an example of persistent and significant racial and ethnic disparities: 44 percent of Blacks reported not receiving influenza vaccinations compared to 29 percent of Whites.
On the good news front, Medicare has gotten much better at covering preventative services! Somebody realized it’s smarter to conduct screenings for early detection before things get out of control. There’s a substantial list of covered services available without a co-pay. Your doctor can tell you what services are right for you.
When you first sign up for Medicare, your doctor will perform a “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit. This needs to be done within the first twelve months of signing up for Medicare B. After that, your yearly “Wellness visit” will cover different preventative care. During that wellness visit, make sure you can memorize three words, because they always include a short memory test!
Some of the preventative care covered by Medicare include yearly breast cancer screening, depression screening, diabetes screening and glaucoma testing, along with prostate cancer screening and pneumococcal, flu and COVID vaccines. The annual “Medicare & You” handbook lists many more covered services and is sent out at the end of September. Don’t toss it!
The next time you go to the doctor, ask about the preventative care that is available for you –and then take advantage of it! Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Take care of yourself and live a long and happy life.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker and a Certified Care Manager for One Senior Place in Viera.