Highlighting Select Preventive Services

Published 03/30/2018

Medicare currently offers 28 preventive services, most of which are free to you. A majority of people with Medicare are aware of the Annual Wellness Visit, the Influenza Virus Vaccine and Administration, and Lung Cancer screening. But here are two services you may not be aware of that could be beneficial to you and your health:

  1. Depression Screening
  2. Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Cardiovascular Disease

First, let’s discuss Depression Screening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50% of Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness (such as depression) at some point in their lives. Having depression is not anyone’s fault, and the old adage of ‘pull yourself up by your boot straps’ is not helpful advice. The American Psychology Association explains that late-life events (such as chronic illnesses, surviving the death of loved ones, failing faculties – such as eyesight and hearing ) all contribute to the chances of an individual becoming depressed. Sometimes we just feel ‘down’, but there is something you can do about it.

Medicare’s Depression screening can be conducted once a year, and it’s free. It takes about 15 minutes, and must be provided in a primary care setting – such as a doctor’s office. While the screening does not include treatment for depression, your doctor may use the results of the screening to arrange for treatment or referrals. There’s no reason to suffer with depression when it can be addressed medically.

Our next preventive service is Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Cardiovascular Disease. This is a face-to-face 15 minute visit to address ways to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. The visit includes screening for high blood pressure, counseling on the importance of a healthy diet, and may include instruction on the use of aspirin, if it is appropriate for your condition. 

You can receive this service through your primary care physician in a primary care setting. It is free, and you can receive it annually.

These two services are just a few of the many benefits Medicare’s Preventive Services program offers to you. To learn more, please click on the box that says ‘Use Medicare’s Preventive Services’ on the top of this webpage. It will direct you to an article about these and the other preventive services.

For more information on preventive services, please call our Beneficiary Contact Center at 800-833-4455 or for TTY, call 877-566-3572. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. You can also visit our Facebook page called 'My RR Medicare' at www.facebook.com/myrrmedicare. We also encourage you to use our free, beneficiary website portal called ‘MyRRMed’.  MyRRMed provides you with access to your claims information, along with historical Medicare Summary Notices, and a listing of individuals you have authorized to have access to your protected health information (PHI).  MyRRMed is located at www.PalmettoGBA.com/MyRRMed.

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