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The Aging Network

Information Memoranda

                    Jan. 9, 1998

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM
AoA-IM-98-08

TO : STATE AND AREA AGENCIES AND TRIBES ADMINISTERING PLANS UNDER TITLES III AND VI OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED

SUBJECT : New Medicare Benefits - Health Promotion

REFERENCES: TITLES III AND VI OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT

The Administration on Aging (AoA) wants to alert programs funded under the Older Americans Act to new provisions under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 which will contribute to better health for Medicare beneficiaries. Beginning in January 1998, selected new health care screening procedures will be available to beneficiaries whose health status merits such procedures. Medicare beneficiaries need to discuss these new provisions with their doctors to determine which benefits may be of value to them. These services are available to Medicare beneficiaries covered by fee-for-service arrangements as well as those recipients receiving their health care through a managed care plan.

The AoA is asking State and Area Agencies on Aging and Tribal Organizations to encourage service providers, senior centers, case managers, information and assistance providers and others to assist the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in informing beneficiaries of these new provisions. Particularly, those staff who work with the Older Americans Act Title III-F program should make every effort to incorporate this information into their training and public information materials.

The new benefits, which are phasing in over a six-month period, include the following items:

    Yearly Mammograms: Starts January 1, 1998 (No Part B deductible)

    Pap Smear, including Starts January 1, 1998
    Pelvic and Breast Examination (No Part B deductible)

    Diabetes glucose monitoring Starts January 1, 1998

    Diabetes education Starts July 1, 1998

    Colorectal cancer screening Starts January 1, 1998

    Bone mass measurement Starts January 1, 1998

Medicare influenza and pneumonia vaccinations are already fully covered as reimbursable benefits under Medicare since 1993. Additional information regarding flu and pneumonia prevention vaccines may be found in AoA-IM-98-2, dated October 2, 1997.

The AoA staff have been meeting with staff from the HCFA Center for Beneficiary Services regarding their strategy for providing public information about the changes created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Periodically, AoA will forward additional Information Memoranda and post updates on the AoA webpage (http://www.aoa.dhhs.gov) about some of the latest developments of special interest to the State and Area Agencies on Aging, Tribal Organizations, service providers, and older persons. It is important to note that HCFA has two Internet sites which you may access for the most current information about Medicare: www.HCFA.gov and www.medicare.gov. Also, you may call the Medicare Hotline: 1-800-638-6833.

Attached is a copy for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Fact Sheet which provides more detail about who should take advantage of these preventive tests and the recommended time frames. The attached flyer from HCFA is a quick guide as to the tests covered. Both of these documents may be reproduced for widespread dissemination.

Jeanette C. Takamura
Assistant Secretary for Aging

Attachments:
DHHS Fact Sheet
HCFA Flyer