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Preventive Services Now Covered By Medicare

Medicare will now cover preventive services, which will aim to catch problems before they start, and these changes will affect 205,000 people in Idaho.

It’s no secret that Medicare can get confusing and not all doctors accept it.

“If they accept Medicare, they accept it for everything. They can’t pick and choose what things they bill to Medicare,” said Colleen Van Winkle, Volunteer Services Coordinator for Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisors.

The new changes in Medicare are centered around keeping you healthy.

“If people wait until they are seriously ill it will be more expensive to treat those conditions, and the outcome of those conditions may not be so good,” said Van Winkle.

Over the last six years nationwide, 100,000 Medicare patients have used the welcome to Medicare Exam every year. In 2011, from January to July, 800,000 people have had their wellness visit.

“The wellness visits are a new factor of this preventative services that they want to get folks in on an annual basis to see what their situation is, what’s changed,” said Van Winkle.

Some of the new preventive services offered include cardiovascular screening, colonoscopy, diabetes screening, mammogram(no comma) and smoking cessation counseling.

Go to for the preventive screening and services checklist, and it will bring up all the different services the program offers. . Before 2011, preventive services were subject to an annual deductible and generally a 20 percent co-insurance under original Medicare.

Beginning in 2011, many of those services no longer have a deductible and don’t require the 20 percent co-insurance.

“Medicare is trying to center on person-centered health rather than just treating illnesses,” said Van Winkle.

If you need more information about Medicare you can contact SHIBA at 800-247-4422.

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