Do you only visit your doctor for an annual checkup or when you feel sick? If so, you may be missing out on an important chance to partner with your doctor by having an Annual Wellness Visit. If you’re a Medicare member, the visit is available at no extra cost to you.
Checkup vs. Wellness Visit
A checkup and a wellness visit aren’t the same. When you go for a checkup, also called an annual physical, your doctor looks for signs of major problems and does important routine tests. A wellness visit is more like a planning session where you and your doctor can spend time talking about your health. The goal is to create a personalized prevention plan for your health care needs.
Annual Wellness Visit
During your Annual Wellness Visit your doctor will:
- Assess brain health, memory and depression
- Assess overall physical, joint and emotional health
- Check blood pressure
- Calculate body mass index (BMI)
- Update and track your doctor list and prescription history
- Manage chronic conditions like diabetes, breathing problems or heart conditions
- Plan for preventive screenings and shots
To get the most out of your visit, bring these items:
- Medical records, including screenings and shots you’ve had in the past year
- Family health history
- List of all medicines and supplements you take
- List of all doctors and pharmacists you use
- Any information you have on recent visits with your specialists
As you work toward achieving good health, it’s important to have both an annual physical and wellness visit once per calendar year. Try to schedule your wellness visit early in the year so you can get started right away on the plan you and your doctor create.
Medicare does not pay for a checkup or a physical, so you may have a co-pay for that.
When you first enroll in Medicare Part B, you are eligible for a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit within the first 12 months. There is no cost for this, but be sure you request a “Welcome to Medicare” visit when you schedule your appointment.
After that, you can have one wellness visit per calendar year. There’s no additional cost to you for this visit, nor does the Part B deductible apply. Try to schedule your first wellness visit early in the year so you can get started right away on the plan you and your doctor create.
Although the Annual Wellness Visit is provided as a benefit to all Medicare members, if a medical condition is found during the visit, there may be a cost to treat the condition.
Interested in learning more about your Medicare benefits? Reach out to us.
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