Despite the fact that they are eligible for free annual checkups designed to prevent illness or catch it in its earliest stages, the overwhelming majority of Medicare patients do not take advantage of this opportunity.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services covered a mere 298,000 annual wellness visits from the first of the year to March 23. Unless vastly more seniors begin using the service, Medicare will cover visits for approximately 1.3 million patients this year, less than 3 percent of the eligible Medicare population.
In a similar trend, an initial “Welcome to Medicare” exam, which has been available since 2005, has also seen a lack of participation. Despite the fact that more than 2 million seniors join the program each year, a meager 100,000 or so exams are billed to the program yearly.