Consumer Health

What Medicare Patients Should Know About the Annual Wellness Visit

Doctor and patient: Annual wellness visit

What is the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit and why do I need it?

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly visit with your healthcare provider to develop or update a personalized care plan. This plan and visit are aimed at preventing disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. Identifying health issues and risks early can help you stay healthy longer by addressing your medical problems before they become chronic or unmanageable.

Who can get an Annual Wellness Visit?

Anyone who has had Medicare Part B coverage longer than 12 months.

Do I have to pay for this visit?

No. Medicare covers an Annual Wellness Visit once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last visit).

I already get a routine physical exam every year. Is this the same thing?

No. Unlike a head-to-toe physical exam, the Annual Wellness Visit is more of a planning session with your healthcare provider for your future visits and overall health. It is meant to help prevent disease, not address specific concerns at the time of your visit.

If you receive any additional services or screenings during the Annual Wellness Visit, then you may have an additional charge for those services. Services not included in the Annual Wellness Visit will be billed separately. You may be charged your usual copay and deductible if the additional service is covered by Medicare.

What should I expect during my visit?

A personalized prevention plan will be developed or updated with your healthcare provider to help you stay healthy and well all year long, based on your health needs at the time of the visit. Your Annual Wellness visit may include:

  • A health risk assessment (filled out during first Annual Wellness Visit)
  • A review or update of your medical and family history
  • Development or update of current providers and medications
  • Documentation of height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
  • Screening for cognitive impairment such as dementia, memory loss, or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Health advice and referrals aimed at reducing identified risk factors and promoting wellness
  • A list of risk factors and treatment options for various health conditions
  • A long-term screening checklist for recommended preventive services

You may be asked to bring a list of medications, medical records, family health history, or other information that may help your healthcare provider develop or update your personalized care plan.

Posted October 2020

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