Cognitive Impairment Screening

Published 06/22/2021

It’s easy to forget where you put your car keys once in a while. But congative imparement is much more than misplacing your keys. Here are some signs that you or a loved may be cognitively impaired:

  • Trouble remembering
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Feeling overwhelmed making decisions
  • Getting confused easily or frequently
  • Becoming very impulsive or showing poor judgement

You might think your memory has “slipped,” but it might be more than that. Medicare offers a service to test your cognitive functioning. It’s called a cognitive assessment, and it can be performed when you see your medical provider for a visit. Many times, it is performed during your annual wellness visit, but it can be performed at any time you have a concern. 

It's really helpful if you bring someone with you to that visit, such as a friend, spouse or caregiver, so that they can provide answers to questions you might not know the answers to. During the visit, your doctor will do the following:

  • Perform a cognitive exam
  • Review your medical history and your medication. Sometimes medications can have side effects that may make you appear to have a cognitive impairment. 
  • Develop a plan of care, if one is needed
  • Make a referral to a specialist, if one is needed
  • Talk to you about community resources (these can include adult day care, rehabilitation services, and more)

When this service is performed, the Part B deductible and coinsurance apply. 

Cognitive impairment doesn’t always manifest itself in the ways noted above. It can also show up as depression, anxiety, apathy or irritation and aggression. If you see symptoms in yourself or others, please make an appointment with your doctor. Having mild cognitive impairment can increase your risk of developing dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. According the Mayo Clinic, “some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.” Be one who gets better. Call your doctor today.

If you need help locating a doctor, you can call our Beneficiary Contact Center at 800–833–4455, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. We invite you to use our free internet portal, MyRRMed, to access claim status, historical Medicare summary notices, and review any individuals you have authorized to have access to your private medical information. You can visit MyRRMed at

We also encourage you to visit the Mayo Clinic website, which discusses Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

You can access the Alzheimer’s Association website, which discusses cognitive assessment services.

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