The New Year has brought some positive changes to those who receive Medicare benefits. Now, in addition to covering doctors’ visits when you are ill, the government sponsored health care plan also covers ‘wellness visits’ and other preventative care measures. According to the new guidelines which went into effect on January 1st, 2011, most preventative care will be 100% covered by Medicare with no deductible or co-payments.
People with traditional Medicare coverage can now take one free ‘wellness visit’ to their doctor every year. At this check-up they can discuss all kinds of issues with the goal of preventing disease from arising, including evaluating the patients family history, other health-care professionals the patient is seeing, and the medications he is on.
The doctor will also make sure the patient is on schedule with cancer screenings, vaccinations and other preventative tests. And not only is this visit free, but the screenings and tests, such as a mammogram or colorectal cancer screening are completely covered by Medicare as well. Even the doctor-recommended pneumococcal -a vaccine, which at the moment over 40% of seniors do not get, will be free of charge. If everyone at risk received this vaccine, many, and perhaps all of the 40,000 Americans who die each year from pneumonia, would live.