Medicare is a government-run program for older people and people with disabilities. You become eligible for Medicare benefits when you turn 65. You can sign up for the program starting three months before your milestone birthday and up to three months afterward. If you're receiving Social Security benefits, you'll automatically be enrolled in Medicare. Otherwise, mark your calendar so you don't miss the sign-up window, or you may have to pay higher premiums.
It's also a good idea to set aside time to review what programs and benefits are available through Medicare and which plan is right for you. The experienced medical team at Wasatch Family Peak Practice in Layton, Utah, understands Medicare coverage and offers Medicare-compliant annual wellness checkups and Welcome to Medicare visits. Here, they share vital information on preventive services covered under Medicare that can help you live a long and healthy life.
What is preventive care?
Preventive care services help prevent or reduce your risks of developing health issues, disease, injuries, and health emergencies. Unlike a sick visit or an emergency room visit, you're usually healthy at a preventive care visit, and your doctor helps reduce your risk of those types of visits.
Preventive care visits ensure that your doctor identifies health risks or issues early on so that you can make healthy lifestyle modifications to prevent disease or to catch the disease early, when it's easier to manage. In addition to helping your health, preventive services also help your wallet. Preventing heart disease, for example, through healthy lifestyle modifications is less expensive than treating heart disease. Another way of putting it: Preventive care helps healthy people stay healthy.
Preventive services covered under Medicare
Once you sign up for Medicare, you're entitled to a one-time-only “Welcome to Medicare” visit, at which your doctor assesses your current health as well as what other services and supports you may need in the future.
At this first visit, your doctor takes your health history as well as other vital information such as your weight, height, blood pressure, and vision. With this information, your doctor will determine other preventive services you may need and provide referrals and screening recommendations.
After your “Welcome to Medicare” visit, you should see your doctor annually for a wellness visit. Your annual Medicare Wellness visit's focus is to plot out a personalized preventative health care plan that takes your risk factors and health history into account.
At each visit, you may receive the following preventative care services:
- Age-appropriate screenings and tests
- Appropriate immunizations and shots
- Referrals for other services
- A vision test
- Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
- Calculation of your body mass index (BMI)
- Cholesterol check
- A mental health assessment
- A cognitive assessment
- Hearing test
Your doctor may also discuss end-of-life planning and will also keep a running list of medications. Ready to schedule your Medicare annual wellness visit? Call Wasatch Peak Family Practice today to make an appointment, or request one online.