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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 25, 2011

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160


 
Health and Senior Services Commissioner Urges Medicare Beneficiaries to Take Wellness Pledge Highlighting National Senior Health & Fitness Day


 

ManchesterToday Acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary O’Dowd met with seniors on Medicare to urge them to take a pledge that they will call their doctor within the next 30 days to make an appointment for their annual wellness visit, a new, free service covered by Medicare Part B. 

 

 “National Senior Health and Fitness Day is the perfect time to remind older residents that preventive services are vital to maintaining one’s health and quality of life,” said O’Dowd.  “With Medicare Part B now paying for annual wellness visits, beneficiaries should call their doctors today to access these free and reduced-cost preventive health care services.”

 

O’Dowd made her remarks today at an event hosted by Manchester Township Senior Outreach in partnership with Community Services Inc. of Ocean County in the Cedar Glen Homes, a retirement community in Manchester.

 

The wellness visit is one of 19 preventive services available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries that effective January 1, 2011, are now free or at a reduced-cost.  These services include specific health screenings, diagnostic tests and immunizations.

 

Beneficiaries can get more information on the new, free annual wellness visit and other preventive services covered by Medicare Part B, and take a wellness pledge posted on-line at www.wellnesspledge.nj.gov, or by contacting one of 10 local governmental and nonprofit agencies the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has partnered with to promote these services statewide.  The department’s partners include the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Burlington County; Community Health Law Project, South Orange; Community Services Inc. of Ocean County; Cumberland County Office on Aging and Disabled; Family and Children’s Services, Inc., Long Branch; Family Guidance Center Corp., Hamilton; Senior Corps of Gloucester County; SAGE Eldercare, Summit; Salem County Office on Aging; and Zufall Health Center, Dover.

 

The 19 free and reduced-cost preventive services covered by Medicare Part B include a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam, the annual wellness visit, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, cardiovascular blood tests, diabetes screening tests, glaucoma screening, bone mass measurement, screening mammography, screening pap test and pelvic exam, colorectal cancer screening, prostate cancer screening tests, HIV screening, diabetes monitoring and education, medical nutritional therapy, smoking cessation services, flu and H1N1 flu vaccination, pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination, and Hepatitis B shots for those at risk.

 

The department and its partners are also promoting and helping eligible individuals enroll in programs that help Medicare beneficiaries with low-incomes and limited-assets pay some or all their Medicare Parts B and D premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and/or co-pay costs.  A person on a Medicare Savings Program (pays the Part B premium) can save more than $1,000 a year, while individuals on a Low Income Subsidy (pays some Part D prescription drug costs) save an average of $3,900 annually.

 

For more information on getting help paying your Medicare costs, go to www.aging.nj.gov.

 

As part of National Senior Health and Fitness day, it is estimated that 100,000 older adults will participate in health and fitness activities across the nation.  For more information on National Senior Health and Fitness Day, please visit www.FitnessDay.com.

 

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