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What You Need to Know About Medicare’s “Wellness” Visits

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Whether you are on Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you are entitled to an annual Medicare “Wellness” visit. Taking advantage of these visits is a great way to be proactive about your health.

Is a “Wellness” visit the same as a routine physical?

“Wellness” visit is different from a routine physical. It is focused on reviewing your current health and creating a plan with your doctor to reduce your risks. Here are some of the things you can expect at your annual “Wellness” visit:

  • Review of your medical and family history
  • Review of your medications and specialists
  • Measurement of your height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Screening for cognitive impairment
  • Medical advice from your doctor about health concerns or risk factors
  • Instructions from your doctor about necessary follow-up tests

What is a “Welcome to Medicare” visit?

“Welcome to Medicare” visit is an introductory preventive visit that you may only use during your first year on Medicare Part B. This initial visit is more thorough than the annual “Wellness” visit and prepares you for future “Wellness” visits with your doctor.

What is the cost of a “Wellness” visit?

“Wellness” visits and the “Welcome to Medicare” visit are considered preventive services covered by Medicare Part B. This means that if you are on Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will not pay for these visits. However, if your doctor performs additional tests or procedures that are not part of the “Wellness” visit, you may have to pay coinsurance and the Part B deductible may apply for those extra services. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you might want to review your plan’s benefits before your appointment to see if any other preventive services are covered by your plan.

Should I bring anything with me to my “Wellness” visit?

For the most efficient visit with your doctor, it might be helpful to bring the following information with you to your appointment:

  • A list of the medications you are currently taking, along with the dosages
  • A list of the names of all health care providers you see, as well as their contact information
  • A list of questions you may have for your doctor

For your “Welcome to Medicare” visit, plan to also have this information handy:

  • Family health history
  • Medical records, including immunization records

Bringing these items will help you have a productive appointment and will give you more time to discuss your health with your doctor.


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