Contact: St. Louis County Public Health - Duluth: Randy Huard, PHN, 218-725-5278 Virginia: Jill Wagoner, PHN, 218-749-0617
High Plains COALITION URGES SENIORS TO USE MEDICARE’S PREVENTIVE SERVICES
Vaccinations, screenings and treatments covered by Medicare are underutilized
A coalition of voluntary health organizations, public health groups and doctors are urging Minnesota ’s 700,000 Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of a full range of preventive services covered by Medicare.
“Most Medicare enrollees are not aware that flu shots, annual cancer and diabetes screenings and smoking cessation services are among more than a dozen preventive services available to them at little or no cost,” said Randy Huard, PHN, with the St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services Department. “This is the perfect time of year to remind seniors about improving their health in the New Year by using the preventive services available to them through Medicare.”
As health care costs continue to rise and Americans of all ages list health care issues among their top concerns, prevention now plays a significant role in the way physicians, insurance providers and individual consumers approach health care. Medicare’s prevention coverage allows seniors easy access to services that can help them live longer, healthier lives and avoid some of the costliest chronic diseases through early detection.
The High Plains Coalition for Prevention and Wellness is organized by the Pfizer Community Health Initiative and includes voluntary health organizations like the American Cancer Society of Minnesota, public health organizations and several active and retired physicians. All of these partners share the same goal – promoting healthy lifestyles and early detection of chronic diseases.
“Prevention and early detection of chronic diseases, such as cancer, can be critical to saving lives,” said Huard. “We don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity because they
don’t know about these benefits.”
Medicare’s preventive services include:
One-time “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam within the first six months of coverage under Part B.
Cancer tests, including breast, cervical, vaginal, colon and prostate screenings.
Cardiovascular screening to check cholesterol and other blood fat (lipid) levels.
Shots, including pneumococcal, Hepatitis B and free flu shots for all enrollees.
Bone mass measurements to determine risk for fractures and osteoporosis.
Diabetes screenings, as well as supplies like glucose monitors and test strips, and self-management trainings to teach healthier living habits.
Glaucoma tests to screen for eye disease.
Smoking cessation treatments, including counseling and prescription drugs.
For more information about Medicare’s preventive services call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE or visit .