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Does Medicare pay for Preventative Services and Procedures?

Cork Board with Post it Note, Prevention is Better than Cure

Does Medicare pay for preventative services and procedures? Whether you are new to Medicare or have been enrolled for some time, this is one of the most common questions recipients ask. And the answer...more and more, is "Yes".

Since 2011, in accordance with changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), beneficiaries have gained increased access to many important preventative services and screenings, paid for in most cases, without any cost-sharing obligations.

This means that if you are enrolled in traditional Medicare (Part A & B), a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), or Medigap Policy (Supplemental Plan) these procedures are paid for without being subject to annual deductibles or (20%) coinsurance.

Health reform policy makers are focusing on early detection of disease as the optimal way to maintain good health and reduce overall health care costs on a national level. Though these new policies have reduced barriers to more preventative care/screening procedures, the changes will only become viable if beneficiaries are informed and take advantage of what is now covered.

Use this checklist below to see if you are optimizing your Medicare health benefits and are on track with the most popular preventative measures.


The most basic preventative care is the annual 'Physical' or 'Wellness Visit'. Medicare currently pays for two types of these visits. Either your "Welcome to Medicare" exam, scheduled during your first twelve months of enrollment, or a yearly 'Wellness Visit' accompanied by a personalized prevention plan for all beneficiaries.


Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Medicare covers 1 visit per year to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Your doctor will check your blood pressure, discuss heart healthy lifestyle changes and identify your risk factors. If appropriate, daily aspirin use may be recommended. A blood test for heart disease is also periodically covered. Studies prove lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.


Are you over 65? Overweight? Have a family history of diabetes? Have a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), or delivered a baby weighing more than 9 lbs? If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, Medicare will pay for up to 2 Fasting Blood Glucose tests per year. Other risk factors such as high blood pressure, history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, or history of high blood sugar also qualify you to receive this benefit cost-free.


If detected early, colo-rectal cancers rank among the most treatable, even curable diseases. Detection MUST take place before the disease has been allowed to spread outside the colon wall. There are a number of screening tests that Medicare cover at no cost to the recipient. All people are eligible for a screening colonoscopy generally once every 10 years, once every 2 years if you're at high risk. Beneficiaries over age 50 are eligible for a fecal occult blood tests once every 12 months, and a flexible sigmoidoscopy generally once every 4 years. Your physician can help identify your risk factors.


All women with Medicare ages 40 and older can get a breast cancer screening mammogram every 12 months. (Medicare also pays for one baseline mammogram for women with Medicare between ages 35 and 39)


Early detection of Prostate cancer is also paid for by Medicare. Coverage for these screening tests begins for men the day after their 50th birthday, once every 12 months thereafter. A blood test called the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is covered at no cost. The digital rectal exam generally is subject to a deductible and 20% of Medicare approved amount.

Below is a complete list of preventative procedures for which Medicare covers the cost. Some are only covered when certain prerequisite risk factors are present, or if you have been given a referral from your primary care physician. A few may be subject to cost sharing. Consult your "Medicare and You" hand book or for specific guidelines.

  • "Welcome to Medicare" Preventative Visit (one-time) or Yearly "Wellness Visit"
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screenings
  • Bone Mass Measurements
  • Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram)
  • Cardiovascular Screenings
  • Cervical and Vaginal Cancer Screening
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening:
    • Fecal Occult Blood Test
    • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Barium Enema
  • Diabetes Screenings
  • Diabetes Self-Management Training
  • Flu Shots
  • Glaucoma Tests
  • Hepatitis B Shots
  • HIV Screening
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy Services
  • Pneumococcal Shot
  • Prostate Cancer Screenings
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling (counseling for people with no sign of tobacco-related disease)

Understanding Medicare plans and their coverage can be confusing. To discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your current Medicare insurance needs, the knowledgeable, licensed staff at HealthPlanOne's Medicare Solutions agency are well equipped to assist you. Call us at 1-800-328-7305.