Does Part B cover preventive screening examinations?
Medicare Part B: Page 4
From its beginnings, Medicare coverage has been biased against preventive medicine -- for example, the most basic preventive tool, the regular annual physical, hasn't been covered. But in recent years Part B has been expanding to include a number of preventive procedures. And beginning January 1, 2011, thanks to the new healthcare reform law, Medicare will greatly expand its coverage of preventive care -- including an annual physical.
In 2010, covered services include one initial routine physical (sometimes called an initial wellness exam) by a participant's own doctor when he or she first enrolls in Part B. Part B also covers a number of specific screening exams, though with certain restrictions -- required risk factors, for example, or limited test frequency. These exams include mammograms, pap smears and pelvic exams, colorectal cancer screening, bone density tests, blood glucose tests, prostate cancer screening, flu shots, glaucoma tests, and blood tests and other screening for diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
As of January 1, 2011, there will be no patient copayments for these screenings. And beginning in 2011, Part B will also cover an annual "wellness" physical exam that includes a comprehensive health-risk assessment.