Don’t Forget to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Visit
June 15, 2022 | Andrea Bassett
Did you know that within the first 12 months of getting part B of Medicare, you get a free “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit with your primary care provider? You do! Each year thereafter, Medicare will cover the cost of an Annual Wellness Visit. It is important to know what these Wellness Visits are and what they do and do not cover.
Read More: Does Medicare Cover Basic Screenings?
The Welcome to Medicare and Annual Wellness Visits are really conversations with your doctor. They are NOT the same as physical examinations. An annual Physical might be covered if you have additional health coverage such as a Medicare Advantage Plan (MA/MAPD). When you call to schedule your appointment, be sure to request the specific type of appointment you want so that the doctor’s office will code and bill it correctly.
What Happens at an Annual Wellness Visit?
At the “Welcome to Medicare” visit, you will fill out a questionnaire called a “Health Risk Assessment.” Your answers will help you and your doctor create a personalized plan for staying healthy.
The assessment will cover topics such as:
- Your medical and family history. (If you are new to a doctor or clinic, bring your medical records, including a list of immunizations.)
- Your current doctors and prescription medications, including the dosage and frequency and reason you take them.
- Routine checks of height, weight, blood pressure, hearing, and vision.
- Information about preventative health services, such as health screenings and immunizations.
- Personalized health advice.
- Advanced care directives, such as living wills.
You will also complete a cognitive assessment to check for signs of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. If your doctor recommends it, Medicare will cover the cost of a separate visit to do a more thorough cognitive evaluation.
Be aware, if you ask for or if your doctor performs additional tests or services during your Annual Wellness Visit beyond those listed above, you could be charged for the visit. During your appointment, ask questions to help understand what your doctor is recommending and why.
The Benefits of Annual Wellness Visits
Annual Wellness Visits offer you a free visit to talk with your doctor and to clarify what risk factors you should be watching for, and any issues you should report to your doctor. You will be able to map out a plan to schedule preventative services.
If further appointments, tests, or screenings are recommended, you have time to ask questions so you can fully understand what your doctor is recommending. You may want to call your insurance broker or health insurance company to ask how those additional services will be covered so you can anticipate the costs.
These visits are intended to help you stay on track for a healthy lifestyle and to catch issues early on. So, take advantage of these free visits! Remember to request them by name so that are scheduled and billed correctly.
Contact us at Twin City Underwriters for more tips on getting the most out of your health care plan!
Choosing a Medicare plan can be difficult. Twin City Underwriters helps Medicare recipients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Florida find the Medicare plan that meets their unique needs. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our Medicare insurance brokers to get your questions answered!