Medicare participants should take advantage of the assessment, Young said, because it provides an opportunity to meet with the physician, establish baselines and detect diseases or abnormalities in their earliest, most treatable stages. If the exam and tests find nothing, "knowing you have no medical issues gives you peace of mind," she said.
The exam is subject to the Medicare Part B deductible of $110 and the 20 percent co-insurance.
Included in the exam are:
- Review of medical and social history.
- Review of individual potential risk factors for depression.
- Review of individual functional ability and level of safety based on appropriate screening questions.
- Measurements of height, weight, blood pressure, visual acuity and other factors as deemed appropriate by the physician.
- Performance and interpretation of EKG, educational counseling and referrals as deemed appropriate.
Many screening tests and preventive measures already are covered under Medicare, such as flu shots and other preventive shots; screening mammograms; Pap smears and pelvic exams; prostate cancer screening; colorectal cancer screening; diabetes outpatient self-management training; bone mass measurement; glaucoma screening and medical-nutritional therapy for individuals with diabetes or renal disease, Young said.
Added to the list of covered screening tests are blood tests for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There is no deductible or co-pay on these tests.
"Plan ahead to be sure you see a doctor within the six-month window," Young said. "You may have to wait a couple months for an appointment for a preventive exam."
More information is available on Medicare's Web site, www.medicare.gov.