Your Weekly Medicare
Consumer Advocacy Update
Simplifying Transitions to Medicare
January 17, 2013
Volume 4, Issue 3
Medicare covers blood tests every five years to test cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels.
Heart disease is also referred to as cardiovascular disease. Original Medicare will pay 100% of its approved amount for these tests, even before you have met the Part B deductible. You will not pay a copay or a deductible for these screenings if you see doctors or other health care providers who take assignment. Doctors who take assignment cannot charge you more than the Medicare approved amount. You do not need to show signs of heart disease or have any particular risk factors for Medicare to cover the full cost of these tests.
If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan (private health plan) you should contact your plan to find out what rules and costs apply. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans now cover all preventive services the same as Original Medicare. This means MA plans are not allowed to charge cost-sharing fees (coinsurances, copays or deductibles) for preventive services that Original Medicare does not charge for as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply.
Two health policy experts from the Medicare Rights Center Board of Directors, Bruce K. Vladeck Ph.D. and Theodore R. Marmor Ph.D., recently provided their thoughts on Medicare and deficit reduction. Dr. Vladeck and Dr. Marmor discussed the best ways to find cost savings in the Medicare program, the problems associated with raising the Medicare eligibility age, and the consequences of shifting costs onto Medicare beneficiaries.
Learn more by viewing Dr. Vladeck’s and Dr. Marmor’s responses on the Deficit Reduction and Medicare page on the Medicare Rights Center website.
Bruce C. Vladeck, Ph.D. (Chairman) is Senior Advisor to Nexera Inc., a wholly owned consulting subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association. From 1993 through 1997, Dr. Vladeck was administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA, now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), and his work there was recognized in 1995 by a National Public Service Award. Subsequent to his service at HCFA, Dr. Vladeck was appointed by President Clinton to the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare.
Theodore R. Marmor, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Yale University in three units: the Schools of Management and Law and the department of political science. Since 2008 he has been an adjunct professor in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The former director—from 1992 to 2003—of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s post-doctoral program in health policy, Professor Marmor was educated at Harvard University and Wadham College, Oxford.