Health screenings are a crucial part of staying healthy for seniors. By monitoring potential health risks, you can take proactive steps to help prevent disease and catch warning signs early. If you have Medicare, be sure to take advantage of your annual wellness visit. This free yearly visit enables you and your health care provider to discuss a prevention plan based on your unique needs.
Health Screenings Defined
Health screenings include tests for diseases before you develop any symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health.
These screenings may test for:
- Breast and cervical cancer in women
- Colon cancer
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased cholesterol
Some of these screenings may take place in your primary care physician’s office. Others may require specialized instruments that are only available in a specialized setting.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Certain health screenings will be more applicable to you than other screenings. For this reason, you should ask your primary care doctor:
- Which screenings most apply to me?
- Why do I need a screening?
- What should I do to prepare for the test?
- Does the test have any side effects?
After you’ve gone through a test, it’s also important that you spend time talking with your doctor to ensure you understand the results of the test. You may also want to secure a printed copy of the test results.
Note: if these tests are performed by a specialist, you should have the results sent to your primary care doctor.
What Medicare Covers
Medicare covers an annual wellness exam that serves as a kind of pre-screening. At your annual wellness exam, you and your doctor will review your medical history, and your doctor will provide you with personalized advice. This advice may include whether or not you should undergo a certain medical test or a specific schedule you should follow in preparation for a test.
The annual wellness exam is free with Medicare Part B — as long as your provider accepts assignment (accepts Medicare’s payment for services as payment in full).
Keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for paying for Part B out-of-pocket costs — such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance — when you need other services.
A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan can help pay for some of these costs to make your health care expenses more predictable and affordable. To learn which Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are available in your area, contact a licensed agent at --ms-tfn-- .
To learn more about senior health issues and Medicare, read through our other guides below.