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News from SHINE – May 2017

An important goal for Medicare is to help people stay healthy by encouraging prevention.  Medicare provides a number of preventive services.  Many of these services are free whether you have original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO or PPO.

Some of the free services include:

  • Colorectal cancer screening (including colonoscopies)
  • Mammograms
  • Pap tests and pelvic exams
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Cardiovascular screening
  • Flu and pneumonia shots
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Depression screening
  • Obesity screening and counseling

There are rules which state when and how often Medicare will pay for the above services.  Medicare also covers a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and then an Annual Wellness Visit in following years.  However, these visits are not the same as an annual physical exam.  Annual physicals are not covered by Medicare, but they are covered by Medicare Advantage plans (HMOs, PPOs).  For a complete list of free preventive services, go to or see a SHINE counselor.

For further assistance with any Medicare issue, contact the SHINE Program.  Trained SHINE volunteers offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare and related health insurance programs. Please call the Senior Center to schedule a SHINE appointment.

SHINE Program LogoThe Barnstable County Department of Human Services administers the regional office for the Cape and Islands SHINE Program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone). SHINE counselors provide free health insurance information, counseling, and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers.