Medicare Benefits for Seniors
Comprehensive Cancer Centers shared information about how seniors can access Annual Well Visits (AWVs) covered by their Medicare health plans. These visits are important to establish a baseline for future treatment. Benefits from these programs extend into coverage for diagnostic and preventative services that can keep seniors healthy.
Understanding Preventive Health Services
Preventive health services include a range of screenings for a variety of issues such as mental health, functional ability, cancer screenings and regular vaccinations. Screening for health problems that are not yet causing symptoms noticeable to the patient can potentially detect cancer, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, depressive symptoms, alcohol or opioid misuse, fall risk assessments are available under wellness benefits in Medicare insurance plans.
Administration of vaccines or medications to reduce the risk of a future illness is a critical aspect of preventative care. Vaccines can include simple and well-known ones, such as annual flu shots, vaccinations for shingles and others. Determination of what a patient needs each year is something that will be established during an AWV evaluation.
The following preventive services are recommended through AWV screenings:
Mental Health, Cognitive Health, and Substance Use
As people age, seniors may have challenges with their mental health or they are misusing drugs and/or alcohol. With drugs, that can mean misuse of prescription drugs. Through AWV preventative care, the following can be looked into:
- Checking for depression
- Checking for tobacco use
- Checking for alcohol misuse
- Checking for signs of cognitive impairment
Safety and Functional Ability
Home safety checks are important as seniors age. Falls and home safety are serious concerns that AWV can help properly address including:
- Asking about falls
- Checking for signs of functional impairment and assessing home safety
- Checking for signs of elder mistreatment
Regular testing and checkups can reveal many health issues. Each year new issues can come up. Annual testing is recommended and should be examined by a primary care provider or other specialist. Annual testing should include:
- Screening for high blood pressure
- Screening for high cholesterol
- Screening for obesity
- Screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes
- Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Screening for osteoporosis
- Screening for hepatitis C
- Screening for HIV
- Screening for other sexually transmitted infections
Comprehensive Cancer Centers urges all seniors to follow strict guidelines for cancer screenings based on age, family and personal history. Early diagnosis is a priority to ensure the best treatment outcomes. Cancer screenings should include:
- Screening for colorectal cancer
- Screening for breast cancer
- Screening for cervical cancer
- Screening for lung cancer
- Screening for prostate cancer
As noted before, vaccinations are an important part of AWV coverage, and include guidelines for receiving the following vaccines: Influenza, Pneumococcal disease (commonly known as the “pneumonia vaccines”), Shingles (herpes zoster), Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap). Seniors should check with their primary care providers during AWV checkups to set a schedule for vaccinations.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Comprehensive Cancer Centers is a multi-specialty practice offering medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary medicine, clinical research and cancer genetic counseling. The practice advocates for regular screenings and making sure seniors utilize AWV to keep them well. Please click here to learn more about the services we offer and the diseases we treat. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.