Your Medicare Wellness Visit is an annual benefit that provides wellness care. Wellness care is health care that may help lower your risk of illness or injury.
The term “physical” is often used to describe wellness care, but your Wellness Visit is not a traditional, head-to-toe physical. Rather, it is a time when you and your doctor identify any health risks you have and, together, develop a plan to help reduce your risks. The goal is to help you live a healthier life, and here are some reasons to consider scheduling a Wellness Visit.
Wellness Visits are covered under Medicare Part B. You can get one visit every 12 months. There is no cost for the visit itself. You may have some costs if your doctor recommends or performs additional services during the visit.
If you are a member of a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have the same coverage as Medicare Part B. It’s a good idea to check your plan materials to see if any additional preventive services are covered by your plan, too.
What You Should Bring to Your Wellness Visit
The more organized and prepared you are going in, the more time you and your doctor may have to discuss your health. It’s a good idea to gather the following to take with you to your appointment:
- All the medications you take (prescription, non-prescription, vitamins, supplements and herbal); it may be easiest to just put the bottles in a bag and take them with you
- A list of all the health care providers you see, including names and contact information
- Your completed health history form and health risk assessment if sent to you by your doctor’s office ahead of time
- A list of questions or things you want to discuss with your doctor
What to Expect from Your Wellness Visit
A nurse may perform some of the initial tests before you see the doctor. At the visit, your doctor or other staff will:
- Review your medical history and your health risk assessment
- Develop or update a list of your current providers and medications
- Take your height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements
- Complete a screening for depression and for any problems with memory or thinking
- Assess your physical abilities and any safety issues
- Give you personalized health advice
- Provide a list of risk factors and treatment options for you
- Give you a schedule for any additional recommended preventive services and screenings
Together, you and your doctor will create your personalized health plan. Make sure you get a copy of the plan.
If your doctor recommends additional preventive screenings or tests, be sure that you understand how often these are covered and what your share of the cost may be before you have them. Also, you may need your doctor’s official recommendation for certain services to be covered.
A Wellness Visit is not meant for dealing with new or existing health problems. You may ask about any problems you are having, but there may be a charge if they are addressed during the visit. You may need to schedule a separate appointment for any additional help you may need.
Get the Most from Your Medicare Wellness Benefits
It’s important to understand exactly what is included in a Wellness Visit. You can use the resources at the end of this article to learn more. If you are uncertain about anything, ask your doctor.
Annual Medicare Wellness Visits may help you improve your health and stay healthier longer. They may also help find health problems early and may even help protect you from getting certain diseases.
Schedule your Medicare Wellness Visit today.