Medicare open enrollment begins Tuesday! Visit the AARP Medicare Resource Center for the information you need to make your best choices.
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:
Free Preventive Services
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
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
Once every 12 months or up to three times during pregnancy
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
Up to 20 sessions in one year as long as your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
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.
Up to eight sessions in any 12-month period
“Welcome to Medicare” checkup
Once only, during first 12 months in Part B
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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