Medicare is the government program that helps pay your bills during retirement. But it also offers a slew of free services that come as a pleasant surprise to many.
Here are 13 freebies included with Original Medicare plans that can help you keep more cash in your pocket and eliminate some money stress. Note that these perks may not apply to those who have Medicare Advantage coverage.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources
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A preventative welcome visit
Within 12 months of signing up for Medicare, reach out to your doctor to schedule a preliminary “welcome to Medicare” visit. Unlike an annual checkup, your welcome visit is a one-time appointment where you and your primary care provider go over your medical history in depth.
The appointment includes a few basic screenings, such as a vision test. Your doctor will also create a preventative care plan, which lays out which screenings and vaccines you should get as you enter your golden years.
Although you will not pay a deductible for this visit, you might be responsible for a coinsurance. In addition, your deductible might apply if the doctor performs some types of additional tests.
Yearly wellness visits
While Medicare doesn’t cover annual checkups (often called physicals), it does cover an annual wellness visit. During this appointment, you’ll complete a risk assessment that lays out which conditions you could develop based on your lifestyle, family history, and other factors.
Your doctor will use the results of the assessment to update the care plan created during your one-time welcome visit. Note that you can’t schedule a free annual wellness visit within the first 12 months of signing up for Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B covers a variety of seasonal vaccines that those age 65 and older should receive annually, including a yearly flu shot and COVID-19 booster.
Taking advantage of these free vaccines can be helpful for seniors, who are at a greater risk of experiencing complications, hospitalizations, and death related to some illnesses.
Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt
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How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.
Other recommended vaccines
This year, Medicare Part D expanded to fully cover the cost of vaccines for adults that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends. Vaccines for shingles, tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough, and more are included.
Patients who have Medicare Part D and were charged an administration fee when receiving necessary vaccines this year can file a claim to get reimbursed.
Opioid use disorder treatment
Medicare covers recovery treatments for opioid use disorder without requiring you to pay a copay if you receive your ethrough an opioid treatment program (OTP) enrolled in Medicare.
Your treatment plan might include medication, therapy, overdose training, ongoing assessments, and drug tests. However, note that your Medicare Part B deductible does apply to any medications or other supplies you receive as part of your treatment plan.
Yearly screenings for depression
Once a year, Medicare Part B recipients can get a free depression screening at their primary care provider’s office.
During a depression screening, you might be asked questions about changes in your sleeping habits, energy levels, and eating habits, plus questions about any feelings of hopelessness or guilt.
Yearly mammograms for women over 40
If you have Medicare and are a woman over age 40, you should be eligible for a free annual mammogram.
Medicare fully covers a basic yearly screening. Additional mammograms that are deemed medically necessary also might be covered, but you are likely to pay some of the cost of such mammograms.
Yearly prostate cancer screenings for men over 50
If you’re a man with Medicare Part B, you’ll qualify for yearly prostate-specific antigen (PSA) lab screenings and a digital rectal exam starting the day after your 50th birthday,
Colonoscopy screenings every 2 or 10 years
If you are at high risk for colon cancer, Medicare will cover the full cost of a basic screening colonoscopy once every two years.
Medicare will cover the screening in full for those not at high risk once every 10 years. Medicare also covers one colonoscopy four years after a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
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With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Twice-yearly diabetes screenings
If your primary care provider thinks you could develop diabetes and recommends you for screening, Medicare will cover the cost of up to two blood glucose lab tests per year.
You’re also eligible for up to two free screenings if you’re older than 65, overweight, and have either a personal or family history of diabetes (including gestational diabetes).
Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP)
If you don’t have diabetes or end-stage renal disease, do have a BMI over a certain limit (usually either 23 or 25), and haven’t yet gone through a Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, Medicare will typically cover the full costs of a year-long preventative course.
The free program spans 12 months and has two distinct phases. First, you’ll attend six months of weekly group meetings, where you’ll learn strategies for lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Second, you’ll qualify for monthly check-ins over the next six months to help you meet health goals and maintain healthy habits.
Screenings for alcohol misuse
Every year, Medicare recipients qualify for a free alcohol misuse screening at their primary care provider’s office.
If your primary care physician flags you for potentially misusing alcohol — which is different from receiving a concrete alcohol dependency diagnosis — you could qualify for up to four short counseling sessions per year to discuss a path forward.
Up to 8 smoking-cessation counseling sessions
If you want to stop smoking or using tobacco and your doctor recommends that you try to quit, Medicare will cover the full cost for as many as eight smoking-cessation counseling visits over the course of 12 months.
Dealing with new health insurance in retirement requires a bit of a learning curve. But once you’ve figured out how Medicare works, you can start taking advantage of the many free services the program provides to seniors like you.
So, call your primary care provider’s office as soon as you’ve signed up for Medicare and schedule your one-time welcome visit. Then, start taking advantage of the free services that can boost your bank account.