More than 60 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare plans, yet many people aren’t aware of all the benefits included in their coverage.
Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) cover basic medical care, like doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. At a minimum, Medicare Advantage plans offer those same benefits and might also cover hearing, dental, and vision care.
But the coverage doesn’t stop there. Medicare plans also cover some little-known benefits that you might be missing out on.
What Else Does Your Medicare Plan Cover?
It’s always better to catch diseases early so you can begin treatment as soon as possible. Luckily, Medicare Part B covers many different disease screenings, including annual evaluations for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hepatitis B and C
- Cervical and vaginal cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
If you have Medicare coverage, these screenings are included in your benefits. Medicare also covers annual screenings for some mental health concerns, such as depression.
Yearly Wellness Visits
Yearly wellness visits allow you to check in with your doctor and update your health plan to prevent disease and disability. They’re covered by Medicare if you’ve had Medicare Part B for at least 12 months. Keep in mind that this yearly wellness visit is not the same as a yearly physical exam.
If you have Medicare coverage, and your doctor or healthcare provider accepts the assignment, you will not pay anything for this yearly wellness visit.
Alcohol Misuse Counseling
Approximately 1 in 8 Americans meets the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder. One frequently overlooked Medicare benefit that could help address this issue is alcohol misuse counseling.
Medicare Part B covers up to 4 face-to-face counseling sessions per year for Medicare beneficiaries whose doctors determine they’re misusing alcohol. Medicare also covers an annual alcohol misuse screening for adults who don’t meet the criteria for alcohol dependency.
Mobility Scooters and Wheelchairs
With age, it can become more difficult to walk for long periods. Medicare Part B offers coverage for mobility scooters and wheelchairs as durable medical equipment (DME) when it’s deemed medically necessary. To qualify for this benefit, the Medicare recipient must have a face-to-face examination and a prescription for the DME from their doctor. Both the DME supplier and the doctor must participate in Medicare.
Counseling for Tobacco Use
Medicare recipients who use tobacco can attend up to 8 smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling sessions per year through Medicare Part B. As long as the doctor or health care provider holding these sessions accepts Medicare, you won’t have to pay anything for them.
Some Hearing Exams
Most standard hearing exams are not covered by Medicare, but Medicare Part B does cover diagnostic hearing exams if your doctor uses them to determine whether you need medical treatment.
Any Medicare beneficiaries who have diabetes or kidney disease or have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months can receive medical nutrition therapy services covered by Medicare Part B. If your doctor refers you for these preventative services, and you qualify to get them, you will not pay anything. These services could include:
- An initial assessment of your lifestyle and nutrition
- Assistance managing lifestyle factors that affect your disease
- Individual or group therapy about nutrition
- Additional visits to check your progress with your diet
For Medicare to cover nutrition therapy, a Registered Dietitian must provide the services.
Make an Informed Choice
Selecting your Medicare plan is an important decision, and knowing the full extent of your benefits will help you make an informed choice. The best way to learn about your Medicare coverage options is to talk to a licensed Medicare advisor.