At the start of the pandemic, many of us postponed care that wasn’t urgent, like well visits or routine screenings. But now, catching up is really important. Doctors’ offices have taken many steps to keep you safe, and continuing to delay care could lead to health problems now or down the road.
Not sure what you need? This list covers the basics for most of our members. It includes care that could prevent problems or find them early, when they’re easier to treat. Many of these services are available at no cost with your BCBSRI Medicare Advantage plan. Of course, you’ll want talk with your primary care provider (PCP) about your specific health needs.
1. Schedule your yearly well visit with your PCP.
$0 when you see an in-network provider
If you haven’t seen your PCP in the last year, call today to schedule a well visit. During this appointment, your PCP will give you a physical exam, ask you about your health since your last visit, and review your medications. If you’ve been experiencing any health issues—including depression or anxiety—be sure to write down your symptoms before your visit, as well as any questions you have. Don’t have a PCP? Use our Find a Doctor tool or call the Medicare Concierge team at (401) 277-2958 or 1-800-267-0439 (TTY: 711).
2. Ask your PCP which preventive cancer screenings you need.
Often $0 when you see an in-network provider
Many types of cancer are "silent," meaning you'll have no symptoms until the disease has advanced and is harder to treat. These screenings can find diseases in earlier, more treatable stages and, in some cases, even help prevent them. Ask your PCP which screenings you need. Here are general guidelines based on age and gender.
- Colon Cancer Screening
Ages 45-75, once every 10 years for a colonoscopy
While a colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for this screening, other options are available, including simple take-home tests. Ask your PCP what they recommend.
- Breast Cancer Screening
Ages 50-74, every two years
The best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast.
3. See your provider about ongoing health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.
Please see your plan details for coverage.
If diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems are not under control, they can lead to complications and even hospital stays. You may need regular testing, such as an HbA1c test for diabetes, to help you manage your condition.
4. Seek help for mental health or substance use issues—for yourself and your children.
See the comprehensive benefits and services available.
During the pandemic, many of us have experienced stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use issues—but haven’t received the care we need. Treatment can make a tremendous difference. For help finding a provider, use our Find a Doctor tool or call the Medicare Concierge team at (401) 277-2958 or 1-800-267-0439 (TTY: 711). In a crisis, please contact BH Link at 401-414-LINK (5465).
5. Get a flu shot.
$0 at a participating pharmacy or in-network doctor’s office
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone ages six months and older get a flu shot, which can protect against flu complications, including hospitalization. Find a location.
6. Receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
$0 when received from a pharmacy, vaccination clinic, or other provider approved by the government
The best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated or get a booster shot if you’re eligible. The CDC now recommends that all adults ages 18 and older get a booster shot. If you haven’t already received your vaccination, find a location in Rhode Island or your state.
7. Visit your dentist for a cleaning.
$0 if you have coverage through your BCBSRI Medicare Advantage plan or a Blue Cross Dental plan
If your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, plaque and tartar can build up and lead to cavities, gum disease, or tooth loss. Gum disease may also make other problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, worse. If you don’t have a dental plan, visit bcbsri.com or call (401) 351-2583 or 1-800-505-2583 (TTY:711).
Prefer a video visit?
With BCBSRI Doctors Online1, you can receive 24/7 care for common, non-emergency health issues such as colds, allergies, or migraines. You can also schedule video visits with a therapist or psychiatrist for behavioral health issues such as stress, anxiety, or depression. You can video chat with a board-certified doctor or licensed therapist right from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. These video visits are covered at $0.
Registering for Doctors Online is quick and easy—and it’s a good idea to sign up before you need it. Download the BCBSRI Drs. Online app on the App Store or Google Play2 or visit drs-online.com. Be sure to have your BCBSRI member ID handy.
1In the case of an emergency, you should always call 911. Doctors Online is not intended to replace these services and should not be used in those circumstances. Doctors Online is a telemedicine service provided by American Well®, an independent company that administers Doctors Online on behalf of BCBSRI.
2Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.