Under Affordable Care Act, Preventive Services Now Free to Medicare Beneficiaries

Under the Affordable Care Act, since January 1, 2011, beneficiaries of Original Medicare no longer have to pay out-of-pocket costs for a “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam, and an annual preventive/ wellness visit with a participating physician is also covered at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries.

The Affordable Care Act encourages beneficiaries to use more preventive services. It waives any out-of-pocket costs for coinsurance and deductible requirements for an annual wellness visit, as well as for any other preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). For example, cancer screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and counseling to quit smoking may now be obtained free of charge from any qualified health provider participating in Medicare.

On March 16, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report showing that “in less than two months, more than 150,000 seniors and others with Medicare have received an annual wellness visit.” “The report also shows that this enhanced preventive benefits coverage [now provided under the Affordable Care Act] will lower costs, including lowering Medigap premiums for employers, states and people with Medicare,” the HHS report concludes.

“Many more people with Medicare are expected to receive annual wellness visits and other recommended preventive services thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” the Department said.

More Information

For more information about the “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam, the annual wellness visit, participating physicians in your area, and other new benefits, go to Medicare.gov/WelcomeToMedicare/Exam.

For more information about prevention and the preventive services that are now covered by Medicare at no cost to you, go to www.healthcare.gov/learn.

For information on all new Medicare benefits in 2011, see Medicare Fact Sheets.

See also our resource pages on:

Medicare; and

Financial Issues for Seniors & Family Caregivers: Planning & Paying for Care.


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