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En español | The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”) for the first time allowed Medicare to waive charges for preventive and wellness services. Since becoming effective in 2011, this provision has saved Medicare beneficiaries collectively billions of dollars in waived copays and deductibles, as well as helping to detect, prevent or stave off serious diseases and conditions.

You pay nothing for the following services, provided that:

  • You don’t have tests or services more often than Medicare pays for.
  • If you’re in the original Medicare program, you go to a doctor who accepts “assignment” — that is, accepts the approved Medicare amount as full payment. 
  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan (such as a HMO or PPO), you go to a doctor within your plan’s provider network. 

Free Preventive Services

Frequency

Abdominal aortic aneurism screening

One-time ultrasound for people at risk

Alcohol abuse counseling

One screening and up to four counseling sessions per year

Bone mass measurement

Once every 24 months if you’re at risk for broken bones, more if medically necessary

Breast cancer mammograms

Once a year for women 40 or older

Cardiovascular tests to detect conditions leading to heart attack or stroke

One every five years

Cardiovascular counseling to help lower risk of heart attack or stroke

Once a year with your primary care doctor

Cervical/vaginal cancer screening — Pap tests and pelvic exams


Once every 24 months or every 12 months if you’re at high risk

Colorectal cancer — fecal occult blood test

Once every 12 months if you’re 50 or older

Colorectal cancer — flexible sigmoidoscopy

Once every 48 months if you’re 50 or older

Colorectal cancer — colonoscopy

Once every 10 years or every 24 months if at high risk

Colorectal cancer — multi-target stool DNA test

Once every three years for people ages 50-85 who have no symptoms or family history of colorectal disease

Depression screening

Once a year in a primary care setting

Diabetes counseling and screening

Up to two screenings a year if you’re at risk of diabetes

Flu[KF5] [PB6]  shots

 

Once a year in flu season (usually November to April)

Hepatitis B shots

Whenever a doctor orders them if you’re at risk

Hepatitis C test

Only if a doctor orders it and you meet the conditions for risk

HIV screening

Once every 12 months or up to three times during pregnancy

Laboratory services

Blood tests and urinalysis, as ordered by a doctor, any time

Lung cancer screening

Once a year for people ages 55-77, who are current or former smokers averaging one pack a day for 30 years, but without symptoms of lung disease

Medical nutrition therapy

If you have diabetes or kidney disease, or have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months, and your doctor refers you

Obesity counseling

Up to 20 sessions in one year as long as your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher

Pneumonia shot

After age 65, one shot followed at least one year later by a different shot

Prostate cancer PSA test

Once every 12 months for men over 50

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and counseling

Screening: Once every 12 months if ordered by a doctor. Counseling: Up to two sessions each year when provided in a primary care setting.

Stop-smoking counseling

Up to eight sessions in any 12-month period

“Welcome to Medicare” checkup

Once only, during first 12 months in Part B

Wellness checkup

Once every 12 months, after you’ve had Part B for one year


For more information, including some preventive services you may have to pay copays for, see the official publication “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services” at https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10110.pdf.


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