As a senior, there are many free services available to you through your Medicare coverage. These services include a variety of vaccines and annual wellness visits. Making sure you understand your benefits is important to us.Amy Gregory, RN “Nurse Amy,” is a registered nurse with Singing River Health System. She works closely with the senior community as well as Singing River Health System physicians to help seniors get the most out of their benefits.
Free Annual Wellness Visits
The Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is an important free benefit provided to seniors through Medicare. It is designed to promote health, detect illness and focus on early disease detection and prevention.
Rather than a physical examination, each AWV is a one-on-one session with a skilled registered nurse assigned to review patients’ health. During the typical 30-45 minute visit, a nurse will work with you to complete an assessment and develop a personalized prevention plan in order to manage your health. Medicare covers one AWV per year. After patients have been enrolled in Medicare for more than 12 months, they are eligible to participate. The beneficiary will pay nothing for the AWV. There are no coinsurance, co-payment or deductible charges for these benefits.
Many adults die each year from vaccine preventable diseases. Pneumonia and influenza are serious illnesses that can cause death in older adults. The Hepatitis B virus can cause serious liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death for people at high risk. The best way to prevent these diseases is to get vaccinated. Medicare provides seniors with free yearly flu shots, pneumonia vaccines and Hepatitis B vaccines for those who are considered high risk for the disease.
Medicare covers one pneumonia vaccination for each Medicare beneficiary. One vaccine at age 65 generally provides coverage for a lifetime, but for some high risk people, a booster vaccine is needed. Medicare will also cover a booster vaccine for high risk people if 5 years have passed since their last vaccination. Medicare covers both the costs of the vaccine and its administration by recognized providers. There is no coinsurance or co-payment applied to this benefit, and a beneficiary does not have to meet his or her deductible to receive this benefit.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
The Hepatitis B vaccination can protect people at high risk, such as those with renal disease or hemophilia, from contracting the disease. The vaccine is delivered in a series of 3 shots. Medicare pays for the hepatitis B vaccinations for people considered to be at high risk for the disease. Medicare covers both the costs of the vaccine and its administration by recognized providers. The coinsurance or co-payment applies after the yearly deductible has been met.
Some people, such as seniors and young children are at high risk for serious flu complications. Because flu viruses change from year to year, it is important to get a flu shot each year. Medicare covers both the costs of the vaccine and its administration by recognized providers. There is no coinsurance or co-payment applied to this benefit, and a beneficiary does not have to meet his or her deductible to receive this benefit.
Schedule Your Visit
For more information regarding Medicare services and its benefits or to schedule your appointment, please contact Nurse Amy at 228-826-1252.