Medicare 101

Medicare Annual Wellness Visit: What It Means for You

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 18, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare covers two types of wellness visits — a Welcome to Medicare visit for new beneficiaries and an annual wellness visit for beneficiaries who have been enrolled in Medicare Part B for at least 12 months.

During these exams, your health care provider reviews your medical history with you and plans out care you may need now or in the future. Here’s what to expect from your visit.

 

Smiling senior man having measured blood pressure

Understanding Your "Welcome to Medicare" Visit

The “Welcome to Medicare” visit is available for those who have signed up for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) within the last 12 months. In this introductory visit, you and a health care provider will review your medical history.

Your provider will likely counsel you on a number of topics related to your health, including:

  • Screenings, referrals to other providers, or shots you may need
  • Measurements of your height, blood pressure, and weight
  • Measurements of your body mass index
  • Your vision
  • Any risk of depression you may face
  • Other preventive services you may need to remain healthy

This “welcome” visit is only covered once. After you’ve had this visit, and/or after you’ve had Part B for more than 12 months, you’ll then transition to an annual wellness visit.

Understanding Your Annual Wellness Exam

Your Medicare annual wellness exam is much like your introductory visit. That is, you won’t undergo a whole-body physical, but will instead talk through your health with your doctor or health care provider.

In your annual visit, you’ll also develop or update your personalized prevention help plan. This plan helps you take steps to prevent diseases based on your unique health profile.

To help you assess what steps to take, your provider will administer a questionnaire called a health risk assessment. This questionnaire allows providers to better understand your health, and to better prescribe any future steps for your health care.

Your health risk assessment will likely include:

  • A review of your and your family’s health history
  • A list of your current prescription drugs and providers
  • Tests for cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • A screening schedule for future physician visits

Getting Help With Medicare Costs

Keep in mind that you may have to meet your Medicare Part B deductible ($185 per year in 2019) and pay Medicare Part B coinsurance if your provider conducts additional tests during your wellness visit.

One way to have help covering some out-of-pocket Medicare costs such as the Part B coinsurance is to consider enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap).

These insurance plans are sold by private health insurance companies and can help cover certain Medicare out-of-pocket costs.

Chat with a licensed insurance agent at 1-855-544-5741, or read through our guide, 10 Medicare Mistakes You Could Be Making to learn more.

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