Free preventive services offered for seniors on Medicare

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the government free of charge provides preventive services for those with Medicare insurance.

Along with free yearly wellness exams, Medicare recipients can get free screenings for early detection of diseases before there are any symptoms. These screenings include mammograms, colonoscopies, and checks for high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Smokers on Medicare can get free help to kick the habit.

Seniors with Medicare Advantage plans must check with their provider to see if any of these services are free.

According to Denise Crabb, an insurance specialist in charge of Medicare billings at St. Luke Hospital, seniors with Medicare insurance can walk into a hospital and get mammograms directly, but for other preventive services, an appointment is required. The patient would be billed for the share of the appointment not covered by Medicare, which is usually a nominal amount, Crabb said.

The free screenings do not cover diagnostic services.

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