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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 17, 2011

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

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


 
Department of Health and Senior Services Encourages Medicare Part B Beneficiaries to Use Preventive Benefits, Take the Wellness Pledge


 

TRENTON— The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services today kicked off a public awareness campaign encouraging Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part B to learn more about 19 free and reduced cost preventive care services now covered under the Part B program. The campaign is funded by a grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Administration on Aging (AoA).

 

“Prevention and early disease detection are key factors in maintaining or improving quality of life,” said Acting Commissioner O’Dowd.  “We want all Medicare Part B enrollees to know these important preventive health care services are available and that out-of-pocket costs for these vital services have been eliminated or greatly reduced for beneficiaries.”

 

The multi-dimensional campaign includes radio and print ads, brochures, posters and a wellness pledge card on which beneficiaries vow to call their doctor within 30 days to make an appointment for their first-ever annual wellness visit, a new, free service covered by Medicare Part B.  The pledge cards will be distributed and collected at presentations and health fairs conducted by 10 local agencies also funded by the grant, and will be mailed back to beneficiaries one month later as a reminder.  Beneficiaries can also take the pledge on-line at www.wellnesspledge.nj.gov.

 

            At the free annual wellness visit, beneficiaries and their doctors or health care providers develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on the beneficiaries’ current health and risk factors.  The visit includes a review of medical and family history; a list of current providers and prescriptions; height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements; a screening schedule for appropriate preventive services; and a list of risk factors and treatment options.

 

            In addition to the wellness visit, the 19 free and reduced-cost preventive services covered by Medicare Part B include a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam within the first 12 months of coverage, 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’s funded-partners in this effort 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 grant funds are also being used to promote and help low-income and limited-asset Medicare beneficiaries enroll in programs that pay some or all their Medicare Parts B and D premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and/or co-pay costs.  Part B usually covers just 80% of approved doctor bills.

A person on a Medicare Saving Program (which pays the Part B premium) can save more than $1,000 a year, while individuals on a Low Income Subsidy (which pays some Part D prescription drug costs) save an average of $3,900 annually.

 

For assistance learning about and applying for these programs, low-income Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to contact one of the following grantees:

 

If your live in …

Contact …

At …

Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem & Union Counties

Community Health Law Project, South Orange

1-888-838-3180

Burlington

Burlington County’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Pemberton

609-894-9311, ext. 1051

Cumberland

Cumberland County Office on Aging and Disabled

856-453-2220 and 856-453-2221

Gloucester

Senior Corps of Gloucester County, Sewell

856-468-1742

Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex or Warren

Zufall Health Center

973-328-3344, ext. 341 or

908-268-1106

Mercer

Family Guidance Center

609-924-2098, ext. 11

Monmouth

Family and Children’s Service, Inc., Long Branch

732-728-1331

 

Ocean

Community Services Inc. of Ocean County, Lakewood

732-523-7123

Salem

Salem County Office on Aging, Salem

856-339-8622

Union

 

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

908-273-6999

 

            Individuals residing outside the grant coverage areas (Bergen, Cape May, Middlesex, Passaic & Somerset Counties) should call the New Jersey Division of Aging and Community Services at 1-800-792-8820 for information and referral services.

 

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

  

 

 
 
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