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Massachusetts Seniors Need to Know About Free Medicare Check-Ups

The official handbook, “Medicare & You 2011,” says that “Medicare covers two types of physical exams — one when you’re new to Medicare and one each year after that.” It describes these as the initial “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam and the yearly “wellness” exam.  Then why are some patients going to the doctors for the physical and leaving with a bill in excess of $400?

Until Jan. 1 this year, Medicare did not cover any routine exams except for the “Welcome to Medicare” exam for new beneficiaries. The Affordable Care Act created the once-a-year wellness visit as a new benefit.

Theese new check ups are not what people think however.  The check up considered by Medicare an “annual wellness visit” can be performed in just a few minutes, without the patient having to undress at all.  Typically, the doctor will measure the patient’s height, weight, body mass and blood pressure — and perhaps listens to his heart through his clothes. The rest is a discussion of the patient’s medical and family history.

While doctors and patients are both thrilled Medicare is now paying for preventative check ups.  As was mentioned earlier in this post, patients are leaving their doctor’s office thinking what they got was a free visit, paid for by Medicaid, and then receiving bills in excess of $400.  To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, be 100% sure when talking to your doctor to tell them you only want the free Medicare check up and mention the billing code G0438.

Prevent Senior Health Issues

Doctors have said it is difficult to work a 45-minute wellness visit into an already overstretched schedule. They’ve been covering its elements for years in other ways, by working a discussion of preventive measures into a regular visit when examining a patient.  They also say that by avoiding a sedintary life style and making better choices at the dinner table, seniors can avoid many of the more serious and expensive health risks such as heart disease and diabetes.

To take steps to protect your spouse, home and life savings today register online to attend a free educational workshop hosted by Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq, CPA, LLM or by calling 800-964-4295 (24 hours a day).  You can also check out Free Elder Law Guides developed by the team of professional at Dennis Sullivan & Associates.  By planning now you can save you and your family the stress of having to worry about the future.