Tuesday, September 19, 2023

What Preventive Care Is Covered By Medicare

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Well Woman Exam And Cervical Cancer Screening

Does Medicare cover preventive care?

Part B covers a pap smear and pelvic exam every two years. Those with a high risk of cervical or vaginal cancer can have screenings every 12 months.

Your risk for cervical or vaginal cancer is higher if:

  • Sexually active before age 16
  • Had five or more sexual partners
  • Had a Sexually Transmitted Infection
  • Your mom was given the drug Diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy
  • You had fewer than three negative pap smears or no pap smear within the past seven years

When you use a participating provider, Medicare covers 100% of the cost of the exam if youre eligible.

Hepatitis C Screening Test

Part B includes one hepatitis C screening if your doctor requests the test. Those at risk can have one testing ever year with coverage.

Some potential indicators include:

  • If you were born between 1945-1965
  • Has a blood transfusion before 1992
  • High-risk because of current or previous history using injectable and illegal drugs

Hepatitis C screenings have 100% coverage if screens are with a doctor that accepts Medicare. You only have coverage if the doctor orders testing.

What Services Are Covered By Medicare

People enrolled in Original Medicare have access to a range of inpatient and outpatient services.

For example, Medicare Part A covers inpatient care in a hospital, home health care, skilled nursing facility care and hospice services.

Medicare Part B covers two main types of services: Medically necessary services or supplies and preventive services such as flu shots and cancer screenings. Clinical research, mental health services, durable medical equipment and ambulance transportation are all covered by Medicare Part B.

All Medicare Advantage plans are required to offer the same services as Original Medicare, but additional services such as dental and vision care may be offered.

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Preventive Shots Covered By Medicare Part B

In addition to preventive screenings, Part B covers certain immunizations. These include:

  • Flu shots: Once per flu season
  • Hepatitis B shots: Qualifiers include living with someone who has Hepatitis B, being a healthcare worker, and having diabetes, End-Stage Renal Disease, or hemophilia
  • Pneumococcal shots: You qualify for two pneumococcal shots as long as the second one is administered at least 12 months after the first

Medical Nutrition Therapy Services

Guide to Medicare Coverage of Preventive Care

Provided your doctor refers you for this service, you pay nothing. Nutrition professionals and registered dieticians can provide these services. Medical Nutrition Therapy Services include a nutritional assessment and counseling to help you manage your diabetes or kidney disease.

People with these conditions have coverage:

  • Diabetes
  • Renal disease
  • A kidney transplant within the last three years. Your doctor does need to refer you to this service.

Medicare covers 3 hours of one-on-one counseling the first year, and 2 hours each year after that. If the condition, treatment, or diagnosis changes, you may be eligible for more hours with a doctors referral.

A doctor must prescribe these services and renew your referral yearly if continuing treatment rolls into another calendar year.

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Medicare Preventive Services: Whats Covered

It is not always easy to figure out what Medicare covers. However, when it comes to Medicare Preventive Services, there are some very helpful and easy to navigate resources. One of the best resources is the guidebook, Medicare Coverage: Preventive Care, published by the Medicare Rights Center Medicare Interactive.org. This booklet makes learning about what Medicare will pay for when it comes to preventive care, and how much they will pay, simple.

The booklet is organized alphabetically by procedure, and describes all the preventive services that Medicare covers. And, Medicare covers a lot of preventive services, from mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies to flu shots and smoking cessation counseling. Next to each procedure is a description of the criteria for coverage. In some cases, you need to be over a certain age to qualify for service or have certain risk factors identified by your doctor for Medicare to cover the service. The guidebook also indicates how much Medicare will cover, whether its the who cost or a percentage of the cost. Having this guide at your fingertips should make researching the coverage of specific preventive services easy. You wont go into your next doctors appointment wondering if or how much you will need to spend.

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Medicaid And The Childrens Health Insurance Program

The ACA also calls for additional benefits for certain Medicaid and Childrens Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. It is important to note that there are different types of Medicaid coverage. The first kind of coverage, for children, pregnant women, parents, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, preceded the ACA, and is often called traditional Medicaid. The ACA gives states the opportunity to expand Medicaid for individuals with an income up to 133% of the federal poverty level . Beneficiaries that are newly eligible for Medicaid through the expansion receive coverage through an alternative benefit plan that includes coverage without copays or deductibles for preventive services recommended by the USPSTF and ACIP and supported by HRSAthe same coverage required for nongrandfathered private plans.

Through traditional Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program, children younger than 18 years receive free preventive care, including ACIP-recommended vaccinations, vision and dental services, screenings and examinations, and other necessary health care services through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment benefit. With respect to adults, states must cover certain tobacco cessation services and pregnancy-related care without copays or deductibles . But with those exceptions, states are generally not required to cover preventive care for adult traditional Medicaid beneficiaries and may charge copays.

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Preventive Care Isnt Really Free

Although your health plan must pay for preventive health services without charging you a deductible, copay, or coinsurance, this doesnt really mean those services are free to you. Your insurer takes the cost of preventive care services into account when it sets premium rates each year.

Although you dont pay cost-sharing charges when you receive preventive care, the cost of those services is wrapped into the cost of your health insurance. This means, whether or not you choose to get the recommended preventive care, youre paying for it through the cost of your health insurance premiums anyway.

Medicare Preventive Services For Shots

Medicare Free Preventative Services

Flu Shot

Flu shots may help limit seasonal influenza. Part B benefits cover one flu shot each flu season. Flu season runs typically from November April. Depending on when you want to get your flu shot, Medicare might include a flu shot twice in one year. Medicare covers flu shots at 100%.

Pneumococcal Shot

Part B benefits cover the Pneumococcal Shot. Most people only need the pneumococcal shot once. A second shot has coverage 11 months after the first. Its best to discuss your options with your doctor. If your doctor accepts Medicare assignment, you pay nothing.

Shingles Shot

Medicare doesnt cover the shingles shot. Youll need Part D drug coverage for this vaccine. Contact your drug plan for information on coverage. Most plans cover the Shingrix or the Zostavax vaccine at 50%, but there may be a plan in your area that has more coverage.

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Covered Preventive Services That Include Cost

  • Diabetes self-management training, for people at risk of diabetes complications. Youll pay your Part B deductible if you havent already met it for the year , plus 20 percent of Medicares cost for the training.
  • Diagnostic mammogram . Youll pay your Part B deductible if you havent already met it for the year, plus 20 percent of the cost of the screening.
  • Digital rectal exam for prostate cancer .
  • Glaucoma test if you are at risk. Youll pay your part B deductible if you havent already met it for the year, plus 20 percent of the cost of the screening. A copay may also apply if the screening is conducted in a hospital outpatient setting.

If youre enrolled in a Medigap plan, it may pay some or all of the Part B charges incurred for these services.

Medicare Advantage Vs Original Medicare

Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Original Medicare that sometimes provide additional benefits.

Every Medicare Advantage plan must provide the same hospital and medical benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B, which means that the benefits listed in this article are covered by Medicare Advantage. Some Medicare Advantage plans may also cover additional preventive services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer some vision and dental benefits that may include routine vision and dental checkups.

Speak with a licensed insurance agent to find Medicare Advantage plans in your area and to enroll in a plan that works for you.

Compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area

Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

About the author

David Levine is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, American Heritage, U.S. News & World Report and others.

David has covered health, health insurance and health policy topics among many others since 2017. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Rochester and currently lives in Albany, New York.

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Preventative Services Covered By Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans cover all preventative services covered by Original Medicare, though unique coverage rules may apply. Preventative services covered include:

  • One-time Welcome to Medicare preventive visit
  • Annual wellness visits
  • A one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Vaccines
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Bone mass measurements once every 24 months for those at risk of osteoporosis
  • Annual mammograms
  • Cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction counseling
  • Cervical cancer screenings
  • Diabetes screening and self-management training
  • Glaucoma tests
  • Hepatitis B and C infection screening
  • Colon cancer screenings
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling

Its important to note that many of these preventative services have their guidelines and eligibility requirements. For example, bone density screenings may only be covered at 100% for seniors who are at risk for osteoporosis.

Seniors who have Original Medicare receive these benefits with no cost-sharing obligations. For this reason, Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover preventive care services at 100%, as long as the enrollee sees an in-network healthcare provider. If the enrollee receives services from an out-of-network provider, charges typically apply, even if that provider accepts Medicare. Also, if diagnostic care is provided during a preventative visit, such as removing a polyp during a colonoscopy, charges may apply.

What Is Preventive Care

Medicare Part B Outpatient Coverage

Preventive care is routine health care that includes screenings, services and counseling to help prevent illness, disease or other health problems.

Its covered by your plan because it can help you stay healthy and lets you know if you may develop a health problem.

Dont let disease sneak up on you. Preventive care could save your life.

These benefits may not apply to grandfathered members. Learn more about how to check your benefits and which members are covered.

Understanding Your Preventive Care Benefits

As mentioned in your benefits booklet, many screenings and tests are covered at 100% with no out-of-pocket costs to you as part of your health plan. Use your preventive care and stop health problems before they get serious.

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Medicare Preventive Service Visit Vs Routine Physical

The preventive exam doesnt include physical tests such as lung exams and reflexes. But, if there is a symptom that necessitates that kind of screening, Medicare will cover it. Medicare doesnt cover routine physicals. Youll pay 100% of the costs for a routine physical.

The average cost of a routine physical without insurance ranges from $50- $200, although the costs could be more.

Whats The Difference Between Preventive Care And Diagnostic Care

Diagnostic care is related to services in which your provider is looking for something specific, often based on the results of a preventive test or screening. For example, a radiologist may ask for a follow-up mammogram for a patient. This follow-up is to check for something that may have been detected during the preventive or routine mammogram. The follow-up mammogram is diagnostic, and not covered as preventive care.

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Medicare Coverage For Preventive Care Services

May 7, 2021 by John Norce

The purpose of preventive care services is to help reduce the risk and impact of medical conditions through early detection and treatment. Health care consumers benefit greatly from early diagnoses because treatment can take place earlier, before a condition can exacerbate. Whether you are enrolled in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, your plan will include various preventive services such as screening tests, lab tests, immunizations and counseling. Lets explore the types of covered preventive care services and any eligibility rules you should take into consideration when seeking such services.

Preventive Care Screenings And Lab Tests Covered Under Medicare

Medicare Preventive & Screening Services

Medicare Part B, which provides outpatient medical coverage, covers the cost of many preventive screenings. If youre not sure whether a screening is covered under your Medicare plan, dont hesitate to ask your doctor. Some of the most common screenings covered are for the following types of conditions:

  • Cancers
  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular diseases

Your Medicare benefits also cover several types of preventive lab tests designed to detect common conditions, infections or diseases. These can include lab tests to identify:

  • Blood infections
  • Diabetes or other metabolic disorders
  • Eye diseases

Averting serious health problems by identifying such risks and issues early is essential, which is why Medicare beneficiaries should be fully aware of the preventive services and care available to them. For a full list of preventive screenings and lab tests covered under Medicare, click here.

When you want to look after your health, Medicare coverage for preventive screenings and lab tests like these can make all the difference.

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Alcohol Misuse Screening And Counseling

Part B covers one alcohol misuse screening per year. If a doctor confirms youre misusing alcohol, youll qualify for four face to face counseling sessions annually.

Possible symptoms of misusing alcoholic beverages can include:

  • Anyone whos under the age of 65 and has more than three drinks when they drink or seven drinks each week
  • Women who are under 65 years old and drink three or more alcoholic beverages in a sitting or at least seven alcoholic drinks a week
  • Men under the age of 65 who have more than four beverages at once or 14 drinks per week

You must be alert and competent while counseling takes place. There are no costs if the doctor accepts Medicare.

Care must take place in a doctors office. A doctor would deem treatment necessary when you drink three or more beverages at a time or seven drinks weekly.

Medicare doesnt cover alcohol misuse screening in a hospital stay or emergency room visit. Its important to talk with your doctor about any substance abuse issues.

What Costs Should I Expect

Most of these screenings and preventive services are covered by Medicare Part B at no cost to you. Youll have to pay Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles, and any applicable copays or coinsurance costs.

If your healthcare provider decides to add on other diagnostic tests, you may be responsible for part of the cost.

If youre not sure whether a test is covered, talk to your healthcare provider about the costs beforehand, so you dont have any surprising expenses.

If your screening is followed by a visit with your doctor, you may be charged separately for that visit. If your screening takes place in a specialized facility, there may be fees associated with that facility.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, youll receive the same preventive services covered by original Medicare.

Many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra preventive services, including:

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Preventive Care: What’s Free And What’s Not

Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series .

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurers in the U.S. have to cover certain preventive health care without requiring you to pay a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance. That rule applies to all non-grandfathered plans.

So, what exactly counts as preventive care? Heres the list of preventive care services for adults that, if recommended for you by your healthcare provider, must be provided free of cost-sharing.

Children have a different list, and there’s also an additional list of fully covered preventive services for women.

As long as your health plan isn’t grandfathered , any services on those lists will be fully covered by your plan, regardless of whether you’ve met your deductible.

Covered preventive care includes:

Does Medicare Cover Preventive Care

With Marketplace coverage, take advantage of free ...

August 4, 2017 By Garrett Ball

Preventive care to avoid illness can be achieved in numerous ways, i.e. exercising, living a healthy lifestyle, not smoking, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight. However, another important way of keeping illness at bay, is by having preventive screenings for diseases. Medicare offers a multitude of screenings to help discover disease and health problems early. It is in the early stages of a disease that treatment works best. Some of these screening services include wellness exams, vaccinations, laboratory tests and screenings for cancer and other diseases . In addition, there are counseling programs to educate you on your health and programs for tracking your health.


If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, these preventive care services will be covered. However, what you pay out of pocket for them varies depending on if you have Original Medicare or a Medigap plan or Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay more if you see health care providers who do not accept assignment. However, for some preventive screenings, you will have to pay a deductible, coinsurance or both. Assignment is an agreement by your doctor, provider or supplier to be paid by Medicare, to accept the amount that Medicare deems reasonable for the service, and not to bill you for any additional amounts other than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.

At this visit, you will be able to:

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