Some truths about preventive services

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) wants to make sure that you are taking full advantage of the preventive benefits provided to you by Medicare.

Medicare covers at least two dozen preventive benefit services. They range from screenings for heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to shots for the flu and pneumonia. Early detection and prevention may help you delay or lessen the effects of diseases.

Your Medicare coverage includes a yearly wellness visit to the doctor as well. Many folks have delayed regular trips to the doctor’s offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, a doctor’s visit can be very safe when you follow CDC recommended precautions.

Some preventive services are provided to men only, and some to women only. Your medical history also might determine how and when Medicare covers a preventive service. Some services are covered once, some annually, and some every few years. If your provider accepts Medicare assignment, you pay nothing for most covered preventive services.

Genetic testing – one of the most recent Medicare scams – is not a preventive benefit and should only be conducted after consultation with your primary doctor. The best way to determine which services are appropriate for you is to visit your doctor and ask. There also is a very handy little booklet, called “Your Guide to Medicare Preventive Services,” that explains the services and provides a checklist. You may get the booklet by calling the Missouri SMP office and as always, report suspected Medicare fraud or abuse to the Missouri SMP ( Senior Medicare Patrol) at (888) 515-6565. SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living. The Missouri SMP empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors
and abuse.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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