Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are you taking advantage of free preventative health services provided under the ACA?

Seniors are slowly taking advantage of the free preventive health screenings and tests provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA mandates expanded preventive health services for all Americans, including Medicare beneficiaries.

Under the ACA rules, a free yearly wellness exam is available from doctors who participate in Medicare. The wellness exam supplements a one-time "Welcome to Medicare" exam that is free to people who take advantage of it within their first 12 months of Medicare coverage. 

Medicare has details on the preventive measures it covers. Below are the Medicare preventive and wellness items that are free. Ideally, they should be part of an ongoing wellness plan that you and your physician develop.

• Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
• Bone mass measurement
• Flu shots
• Hepatitis B shots
• Breast cancer screening (mammograms)
• Medical nutrition therapy services (for those with diabetes or kidney disease)
• Pap tests and pelvic exams (includes clinical breast exam; once every 24 months or once every 12 months for at-risk women)
• One-time "welcome to Medicare" physical exam
• Yearly "wellness" exam (for people with Part B Medicare longer than 12 months)
• Pneumococcal shot
• Smoking cessation (counseling to stop smoking; for those not previously diagnosed with an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a general set of wellness tips for women and men above the age of 50.

We here at the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. urge our clients to take advantage of these important, no-cost procedures offered as a result of the ACA, as part of a wellness plan formulated by you and your doctor.  Remember, a big part of wellness is peace of mind. For peace of mind, one of the most important things you can do is to plan your legal and financial future for you and for your family. Call us today at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a free consultation. 

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