Free Medicare Wellness Exam for Senior Citizens

Dec 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

The new Affordable Health Care Act includes a wellness exam for senior citizens through the Medicare beneficiary program. It is a new comprehensive preventive health exam that kicks in in 2011.

The wellness visit, which was included in the new health law at a projected cost of $3.6 billion over next 10 years, has several advantages over the old “Welcome to Medicare” exam.

  • The new benefit can be used every year (The Welcome to Medicare exam was one-time only).
  • It is free to us seniors; and our primary care physicians get paid more for the exam..
  • The exam includes the usual checks of vital signs, height, weight;  and establishes a schedule for screenings (including colonoscopy, mammograms and cholesterol screenings)
  • The exam seeks to identify cognitive impairment, functional ability and depression, three problems common to us seniors as we age.

But it takes a change in thinking to request this exam every year from your doctor.  Some of us seniors don’t understand the need for checkups when we’re feeling well.  We need to retrain our thinking, and ask for the wellness exam every year.

SCJ’s CEO and Senior Moments Blog Editor, Drs Jerry D and Sharon Shaw Elrod, discovered their supplemental healthcare insurance premium for 2011 remained at 2010 levels if they sought the Wellness Exam from their primary care physician during a specific period of time in 2010.  They made the request and had the Wellness Exam performed.  And their healthcare premiums for their Medicare supplement will stay at the same level as in 2010.  Nice incentive!

Dr. Barry Straube, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he’s confident more seniors will take advantage of the new wellness exam.  SCJ echoes Dr Straube’s words, and encourages all senior citizens to take advantage of the Annual Woman’s/Man’s Wellness Exam from your primary care physician.

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