Medicare Preventative Services

“Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit
Medicare covers a one-time preventive visit within the first 12 months that you have Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). This visit is called the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. The visit is a great way to get up-to-date on important screenings and shots and to talk with your doctor about your family history and how to stay healthy.
What happens during the visit?
During the visit, your doctor will:
• Record your medical and social history (like alcohol or tobacco use, your diet, and your activity level).
• Check your height, weight, and blood pressure.
• Calculate your body mass index (BMI).
• Give you a simple vision test.
• Review your potential risk for depression and your level of safety.
• Offer to talk with you about creating advance directives. Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to put in writing what kind of health care you would want if you were too ill to  speak for yourself.
Depending on your general health and medical history, your doctor will give you advice on education, and counseling to help you prevent disease, improve your health, and stay well. Your doctor will also give you a written plan (like a checklist) letting you know what screenings, shots, and other preventive services you need.
What should I bring to the visit?
When you go to your “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit, bring these items:
• Your medical records, including immunization records (if you’re seeing a new doctor). Call your old doctor to get copies of your medical records.
• Your family health history. Try to learn as much as you can about your family’s health history before your appointment. Any information you can give your doctor can help determine if you’re at risk for certain diseases.
• A list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you currently take, how often you take them, and why.
Who’s covered, and how often is it covered?
This visit is only covered one time, and you must have the visit within the first 12 months you’re enrolled in Part B.
Your costs if you have Original Medicare
You pay nothing if your doctor accepts assignment.

Yearly “Wellness” visit

If you’ve had Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly “Wellness” visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. This includes:
• Health risk assessment (Your doctor or health professional will ask you to answer some questions before or during your visit, which is called a health risk assessment. Your responses to the questions will help you and your health professional get the most from your yearly “Wellness” visit.)
• Review of medical and family history.
• Develop or update a list of current providers and prescriptions.
• Height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements.
• Detection of any cognitive impairment.
• Personalized health advice.
• A list of risk factors and treatment options for you.
• A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services.
How often is it covered?
Once every 12 months.
Your costs if you have Original Medicare
You pay nothing for this visit if your doctor accepts assignment.
You don’t need to have had a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit before getting a yearly “Wellness” visit. If you do get the Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit during your first year with Part B, you’ll have to wait 12 months before you can get your first yearly “Wellness” visit Publication 10110  

NOT an Annual Physical Exam!

Medicare does not cover an annual physical exam – see 15 pages from Medicare to explain the difference.  “It’s very important that someone, when they call to make an appointment, uses those magic words, ‘annual wellness visit,’” 

An annual physical typically involves an exam by a doctor along with bloodwork or other tests. The annual wellness visit generally doesn’t include a physical exam, except to check routine measurements such as height, weight and blood pressure. CA


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