Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 18, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:10



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 18, 2017 



Dear Savvy Senior,

Does Medicare cover 100 percent of all preventive health 
care screenings? I’m due to get a colonoscopy and a 
few other tests, but I want to find out if I’ll have to pay 
anything before I proceed. 

New to Medicare

Dear New,

Medicare currently covers a wide array of free preventive 
and screening services to help you stay healthy, but not 
all services are completely covered. 

 You also need to be aware that the repeal of the 
Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) – which helps 
financially support Medicare – may very well cause 
these free preventive services to be eliminated in the 
future. But in the meantime, here’s how it works. 

Free Preventive Services

Currently, most of Medicare’s preventive services are 
available to all Part B beneficiaries for free, with no 
copays or deductibles, as long as you meet basic eligibility 
standards. Mammograms; colonoscopies; shots against 
flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B; screenings for diabetes, 
depression, and heart conditions; and counseling to 
combat obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking are just 
some of Medicare’s lengthy list of covered services. But 
to get these services for free, you need to go to a doctor 
who accepts Medicare “on assignment,” which means 
he or she has agreed to accept the Medicare approved 
rate as full payment.

 Also, the tests are free only if they’re used at specified 
intervals. For example, prostate cancer PSA tests, once 
every 12 months for men over 50; or colonoscopy, once 
every 10 years, or every two years if you’re at high risk. 

 Medicare also offers a free “Welcome to Medicare” 
exam with your doctor in your first year, along with 
annual wellness visits thereafter. But don’t confuse these 
with full physical examinations. These are prevention-
focused visits that provide only an overview of your 
health and medical risk factors and serve as a baseline 
for future care. 

 For a complete list of services along with their 
eligibility requirements, visit and click on 
the “What Medicare Covers” tab at the top of the page, 
followed by “Preventive & screening services.” 

Hidden Costs

You also need to know that while the previously listed 
Medicare services are completely free, you can be 
charged for certain diagnostic services or additional 
tests or procedures related to the preventive service. 
For example, if your doctor finds and removes a polyp 
during your preventive care colonoscopy screening, the 
removal of the polyp is considered diagnostic and you 
will likely be charged for it. Or, if during your annual 
wellness visit, your doctor needs to investigate or to 
treat a new or existing problem, you will probably be 
charged here too.

 You may also have to pay a facility fee depending on 
where you receive the service. Certain hospitals, for 
example, will often charge separate facilities fees when 
you are receiving a preventive service. And, you can 
also be charged for a doctor’s visit if you meet with a 
physician before or after the service.

 To eliminate billing surprises, talk to your doctor 
before any preventive service procedure to find out if 
you may be subject to a charge and what it would be. 

Cost Sharing Services

Medicare also offers several other preventive services 
that require some out-of-pocket cost sharing. With 
these tests, you’ll have to pay 20 percent of the cost of 
the service, after you’ve met your $183 Part B yearly 
deductible. The services that fall under this category 
include glaucoma screenings, diabetes self-management 
trainings, barium enemas to detect colon cancer, and 
digital rectal exams to detect prostate cancer.

Medicare Advantage Members

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your plans are 
also required to cover the same free preventive services 
as original Medicare as long as you see in-network 
providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s 
network, charges will typically apply. 


 Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 
5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit 
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and 
author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …February Birthdays*

Beatrice DaRe, Cathrine Adde, Hilda Pittman, Anne-Marie Stockdale, Susan 
Henderson, Peter Lippincott, Georgia Lippincott, Allie Attay, Ursula El-Tawansy, 
Gladys Moser, Sylvia Lorhan, Ana Ptanski, Winifred Swanson , Marian DeMars, 
Vickie Vernon, Mary Beth Knox, Sharon Lefler, Gordon Caldwell. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart 
Park House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre



Hawaiian & Polynesian Dance Class: Every Tuesday morning from 10a.m. 
to 11a.m. Join instructor Barbara Dempsey as she leads you in the art of 

Bingo: Every Tuesday beginning at 1:00p.m. Cards are only $0.25 each! Everyone is welcome to 
join. May be canceled if less than five people. 

Free Blood Pressure Testing: 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11a.m. to 12p.m. No appt. is 

Brain Games: Thursday, January 19th, 10:30a.m. - 11:30a.m., improve your memory and 
strengthen your brain. Activities facilitated by Senior Volunteers.

Free Legal Consultation: Wednesday, January 25th from 10:30a.m. to Noon. Attorney Lem 
Makupson is available for legal consultation. He specializes in Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Estates, 
and Injury. Appointments are required by calling 626-355-7394. 

Sing-A-Long: Music brings joy to the soul! Come join us Thursday, January 12th, 10:30a.m. to 
11:30a.m. No music skills needed! 

Senior Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House Senior Center. Brown Bag Lunch at 

Chair Yoga: Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00 to 11:45a.m. with Paul Hagen. Third Monday 
of each month, a variety of balance exercises are practiced. All ability levels are encouraged and 
welcomed. A suggested donation of $5 at one of the classes is requested, but is not required. 

Case Management: Case Management services are provided by the YWCA and provide assistance 
in a variety of areas. Appointments are required and can be scheduled by calling the Hart Park 
House Office at 626-355-7394.

Birthday Celebrations: Every 2nd Thursday of the month at the Hart Park House, share some free 
birthday cake provided by the Sierra Madre Civic Club.

Game Day: Every Thursday starting at 12:00p.m. (Please note the time change.) A regular group of 
Seniors play poker. Other games are available for use. 

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 12:45p.m. to 1:30p.m. with Lisa Brandley. 
The class utilizes light weights for low impact resistance training. All materials for the class are 


I hope you had a fabulous week. I, 
for one, celebrated my birthday 
recently! Some people (usually 
women) despise their birthdays 
because it means they’re getting 
older. I love my birthday because it’s the only day I don’t 
feel guilty about shamelessly picking where my husband 
and I go out to dinner! Great stuff, for sure. Another 
thing I love about my birthday is the celebration with my 
family. We have a tradition that my dad always makes 
my birthday cake, and I always make his. My dad often 
infuses my cake with some sort of artistic flare. But this 
year he outdid himself!

 One of the many adjectives 
that characterizes my dad, 
is “creative.” A secondary 
characteristic, is “thrifty.” 
Notice I was nice and didn’t 
say “cheap!” The way my dad 
tells the story of my birthday 
cake this year is this: He knew 
I wanted chocolate cake with 
some sort of non-chocolate 
frosting; so he decided upon 
butter cream. The problem 
was that he already had some 
white frosting in a tube that 
he intended to use, but it 
didn’t contrast well with the off-white butter cream color. 
And he didn’t feel like paying over $5 for a second tube 
of frosting just to achieve a different color. “Ah ha!” he 
thought, “I’ll just dye the butter cream.” 

 My mom, also very artsy and creative, bought some 
professional-grade food dyes a while ago in all sorts 
of exotic colors. My dad zapped the frosting in the 
microwave a couple of times, stirred in a few colors (not 
thoroughly mixing it, just enough to give it a swirly effect), 
and poured the resulting semi-liquid over the cake. The 
result was beautiful!

 I visited them the day before our family dinner and they 
showed me Dad’s “masterpiece.” Of course I think it was 
a masterpiece but they think it was funky. It reminded 
me of “Starry Night” or some impressionistic painting. 
The intricate details of swirls of colors captivated me, 
and I spent a good 15 minutes photographing sections of 
it from different angles. It is now the wallpaper on my 
phone. The only flaw (which I’ve actually now come to 
appreciate) was a meteor-looking thing off center which 
my dad said was an unmelted lump of frosting. 

 The whole experience reminded me of “Herb & 
Dorothy,” a hilarious movie about an elderly couple who 
collected art. (Herb passed away in 2012). Though not 
formally trained in art, they were very passionate and 
opinionated about which art and artists they liked. They 
tended to favor more abstract and modern pieces. In 
one scene, Herb is praising 
a painter for his choice to 
impose a series of vertical and 
horizontal lines over his work, 
making it look as though the 
subject is behind a screen 
or cage. Later, the painter 
admits to the director that 
this “screen” is simply a grid 
to help him when he expands 
the piece onto a larger surface. 
Another great scene has Herb 
and Dorothy showing off their 
latest acquisition in their tiny 
New York apartment --a piece 
of rope nailed to the wall. It is 
very much like another of their prized pieces, a segment 
of wire suspended near the ceiling. The enjoyment they 
found in admiring the shadows cast by that piece of wire 
is truly a life lesson in the subtle art of “joie de vivre.”

 I think we all could use more of that in our daily lives. 
Life can be a drudgery sometimes, but even in those time 
(or rather, especially in those times!) we need to find and 
appreciate the beauty around us. Take a moment to study 
the intricate details of a flower, or marvel at the expanse of 
the night sky on one of these clear nights following a rain. 
Celebrate beauty when you find it because so often it is 
fleeting in nature. Even my beautiful cake is gone now! 

 *In case you’re wondering, my picture this week is of a 
portion of my cake. This is the only time when I wish I 
could have it printed in color!

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: