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Your guide to Medicare's preventive health services

Created date

June 3rd, 2014

Most people know that stopping a medical problem before it starts is the best way to stay healthy and independent. But although many preventive health care services are proven to be effective, too many people do not take advantage of the ones available to them. According to the Partnership for Prevention, preventive services such as colon cancer screening and flu shots are only being used by about half of the people who need them.

Annual Wellness Visit

Medicare coverage often changes, so you have to check your benefits every year. One valuable newer service that more seniors are learning about is the Annual Wellness Visit. It’s not a complete physical examination; rather, it focuses on certain problem areas. “It gives us a good picture of how someone is functioning both physically and cognitively,” says Cheryl Ziemba, M.D., medical director at ... Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J. “We can discover if someone is having balance problems and get them started with physical therapy. Someone with minor memory problems can be referred for cognitive rehabilitation, which can teach some simple ways to work around some short-term memory problems.”

Every person’s health is different. “Some people may need certain preventive services and screenings more often,” Ziemba says. “Your doctor is your best resource for deciding which ones you need.”