5 Little-Known Medicare Benefits You Should Use

Medicare is the primary health coverage plan for more than 65 million Americans. The federal government spends an average of $800 billion each year on the program, which is about as much as the country pays for its military.

Yet many seniors are actually unaware of the cost savings they can enjoy from its many benefits.

Everyone knows about the two main types of coverage you get from Medicare, hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B).

Here are five lesser-known benefits that you should be making the most of.

Health screenings

If you have Medicare, you can get yourself tested for a wide range of health conditions and diseases under the Preventive & Screening services. The coverage includes a test for HIV and other STDs, heart disease, and diabetes.

A wide array of cancer screening tests are also provided, including glaucoma, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

If you are a regular smoker or you used to be a smoker, you can also get free annual lung cancer screening. The program also covers depression and other mental health issues in seniors.

Counseling for weight control

If your body mass index (BMI) is above 30, you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases including joint and bone conditions in old age.

A BMI reading of 30 or more is considered a case of obesity. In that case, you can avail free face-to-face counseling sessions at a doctor’s office under your Medicare plan.

Counseling for addiction issues

Alcohol and cigarettes are addictive substances that can significantly decrease your life expectancy and increase the risk of cancers, liver disease, and other lung and heart conditions.

Kicking these habits is not easy, especially if you have been at it for a long time.

To help you quit smoking, Medicare will provide eight free counseling sessions each year. But it will not pay for any products like nicotine patches.

Alcohol misuse screening tests are also free of charge under Medicare. You can get four counseling sessions and one free screening each year if your doctor believes you need the help.

Wheelchairs, scooters, or other devices

If you have a valid medical condition that obstructs your ability to walk, you may get free wheelchairs or mobility scooters under Medicare coverage. You will need a certificate and prescription from a physician.

Mobility issues like bone and joint problems can make it harder for many individuals to use a normal bathtub. If your doctor can attest that a walk-in bathtub is medically necessary, Medicare may cover the expenses.

They will not pay upfront for the tub. You will have to buy it out of your pocket and submit the bill to Medicare for reimbursement. Be warned, however, that Medicare can also reject the application.

Special shoes for diabetics

Diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic neuropathy, where the nerve endings in your feet are damaged, leading to amputations. Special footwear can help reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy.

Medicare will pay for your first set of custom-molded shoes and inserts, as well as an additional pair of extra-depth shoes. The insurance will also provide annual coverage for additional inserts (three each) for both shoes.