Report: Even When Free, Many Seniors Skip CheckupsBy Margot Sanger-Katz | Monday, June 4, 2012 | 5:06 p.m.
Even though Medicare offers a free "welcome to Medicare" checkup for seniors who enter the program, about one in eight still wait two years or longer to seek a physical, a study in Health Affairs finds.
The report did not find that those who delayed care were any sicker as a result. In fact, patients who waited were less likely to have chronic disease and more likely to believe they would live at least another decade. Despite previous studies that suggest that patients who did not have insurance before joining Medicare spent more when they became eligible, the study found that patients who saw doctors right away were not more likely to have had insurance before joining the program, or to have had a particular type of insurance if they were insured.