- Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement  Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links


Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source -

• Go to more on Medicare or Medicare Drug Program More Senior News at on the Front Page


E-mail this page to a friend!

Medicare News

Senior Citizens Not Taking Advantage of Some New, Free Medicare Testing

Seniors not lining up for free mammograms, colonoscopies, but free wellness checkup is luring patients

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News with The Washington Post

April 26, 2011 - Despite tough economic times, there are some things the government can’t give away. Starting this year, seniors enrolled in Medicare no longer have to pay for more than a dozen tests and other services to help prevent or control cancer and other costly and debilitating diseases. These benefits, which also include an annual wellness exam, are part of the new federal health-care law.

But big crowds aren’t lining up for free mammograms or colonoscopies, although early data indicate that the free wellness checkup is luring patients.

Advocates say details about the new benefits haven’t reached enough seniors, and Medicare’s information about it isn’t easily accessible and can be confusing.

"Our hope is that by waiving cost-sharing and making preventive care more affordable, more beneficiaries will get it," said Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Related Archive Stories


One Retiree Health Reform Program So Popular It Will Stop Taking Applications

Early Retiree Reinsurance Program has used nearly $1.8 billion to help early retirees; nearing funding limit

April 1, 2011

Senior Citizens Jumping Online to Monitor Personal Health Records

Read all about personal health records below news report , with key links

March 28, 2011

New Free Medicare Annual Wellness Checkup Drawing Many Senior Citizens to the Doctor

New preventive services will lower Medigap costs, cost sharing; help employers and states

March 23, 2011

Agencies Join in Effort to Increase Senior Citizen Use of Preventive Services

Magnifying self-reported data for senior citizens not receiving recommended preventive services, new guide underscores need for linking community and clinical strategies focusing on the underserved

Percent of Adults Aged 65 and Older Who Reported Not Receiving Influenza Vaccination within Past Year, by Race/ Ethnicity, 2009*March 15, 2011


Read the latest news
> Medicare
> Senior Politics
Today's Headlines


At a senior center in Reston, roughly 35 people recently attended a "Medicare 101" meeting that provided information about the free services.

Howard Houghton, director of the Fairfax County senior health insurance information program, said he warned the seniors not to delay calling their doctor. "You want to do it sooner than later because this law might get repealed," he said. "The law might change, so why take a chance?"

Even doctors have had some trouble figuring out what tests and exams are free and for which patients. Medicare is now paying all costs for most services that earned top ratings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an advisory group of medical experts. But if patients receive those services more often than recommended or don’t have risk factors to qualify for the tests, they can be charged a co-payment. In some cases, seniors may still have to pay for an office visit, even if the screening or test they receive is free.

To help clear things up, the American Medical Association issued a two-page guide for doctors. That’s in addition to e-mails that Medicare has sent to physicians and their professional associations.

Steven Schwartz, a family physician in Kensington who also teaches at Georgetown University’s medical school, said his group practice developed its own checklist of the preventive services and is contacting Medicare patients who haven’t had a wellness exam.

In 2008, when co-payments were required for many of the tests and screenings that are now free, only a minority of traditional Medicare beneficiaries in the District, Maryland and Virginia received them.

For example:

   > Fewer than 4 percent took advantage of the one-time “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam.

   > Fewer than 10 percent were tested that year for diabetes.

   > Only 36 to 41 percent of women received mammograms.

   > Only 12 to 15 percent of women got bone density tests.

   > Fewer than 20 percent of men received prostate cancer screenings.

   > And even though the flu shot was available for free before 2011, fewer than half got one.

A list of which preventive services are now free and other information are included in the "Medicare & You" handbook (available at or at 800-MEDICARE), the user’s manual sent to all 48 million Medicare beneficiaries. A 48-page Medicare guide on preventive benefits is also available online at

But Joe Baker, president of the nonprofit Medicare Rights Center, said seniors usually read the handbook only when they have questions about a benefit. "If they haven’t heard about it, they're not going to look for it," he said.

One reason why seniors may not pay attention to the changes is that they have purchased a supplemental insurance policy or a Medicare Advantage managed-care plan that already offers some preventive health services without additional charges.

But cost isn't the only reason that seniors may not be receiving preventive health services. Some people worry about whether procedures will be uncomfortable, and many are afraid of hearing bad news.

"It's human nature to put off things that aren't pleasant," she said.

Blum thinks that attitude may be changing. In just the first three months of this year, almost 300,000 seniors nationwide received the new free wellness exam.

"Based upon what we've seen so far, we are very optimistic that we will have a greater proportion of beneficiaries who will take advantage of the preventive benefits," said Blum.

Contact Susan Jaffe at

Some of this information is reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

Janicek Law Firm, PC

Free Consultation

(Call toll free)

1-877-795-3425 or Email

Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)


Search for more about this topic on

Google Web

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page




Published by New Tech Media -

Other New Tech Media sites include,,,, etc.