Medicare offers several free preventative services to their beneficiaries, one of them being the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit. It can be confusing keeping all of Medicare services straight, so let’s go over at what this appointment includes and some other important information you should know.

What Is It?

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly checkup that Medicare covers for most enrollees. The visit is mainly intended to help those with Medicare maintain their health as well as catch signs of disease early on. The Wellness Visit was created as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2011 to help address health risks faced by older populations. It also was set up to encourage Medicare recipients to be in charge of their health. If you have Medicare Part B, it will pay for 100% of the Annual Wellness Visit whenever you are seeing a participating Medicare provider.

The purpose of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is to establish a personal preventative care plan. When a person enrolls in Medicare, they are entitled to a “Welcome to Medicare” wellness visit. This is when the preventative care plan is first written. Annual Wellness Visits that happen after the “Welcome to Medicare” visit are meant to update your preventative care plan and keep your doctor up-to-date on your health.

A woman checking the blood pressure gauge on woman patient's arm.

This visit is more like a review of your health status than your typical full-body physical.

What to Expect

This appointment with your doctor will not be like a full-body physical that you may have had in the past. Instead, it’s more like a review with your doctor of your health status. Before or during your visit, your doctor will ask you to complete a “Health Risk Assessment.” This is a questionnaire that asks about your health status, urgent health needs, and injury risks. Other things that the doctor may do during the exam include:

  • Review your family medical history and your medical history
  • Measure and record your height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Check your list of current medications
  • Assess your functional ability and mobility
  • Look for signs of memory loss, hearing loss, or dementia
  • Provide personalized health advice

Your doctor will update your preventative care plan and may provide counseling related to increasing exercise, losing weight, and preventing falls. They may also schedule you for other appropriate preventative care services like mammograms or cancer screenings.

Details You Should Note

As mentioned previously, Medicare Part B covers 100% of the visit with a participating provider. There will be no deductible, copayment, or coinsurance payment when you visit a doctor who accepts Medicare. You do, however, have to meet the requirements. Don’t worry though, it’s not hard! To be eligible for Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit, you have to have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or Medicare Advantage and be enrolled for 12 months. You also cannot have more than one visit in the same year, including your “Welcome to Medicare” visit. When you have that first visit, you must wait 12 months before your Annual Wellness Visit.

A common question is if the Annual Wellness Visit is mandatory. And no, it isn’t. However, it is beneficial. If you meet the eligibility requirements, there isn’t much to lose by taking advantage of the program. It’s a free and simple way to manage your health and prevent complications down the road.

To schedule your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, you can talk to your regular primary care doctor about setting it up, as long as they participate in Medicare. You don’t need a doctor referral, so get in touch with your doctor’s office about arranging the visit.

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At Signature Senior Solutions, we want you to be as knowledgeable about Medicare as you can be. If you have any questions or need help understanding something regarding Medicare, please reach out! We are always here to help you. Signature Senior Solutions is located in Cave Creek, and services all of Maricopa County and Arizona. If you’re out of state, don’t worry, we have a multi-state license and can serve you too.

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