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Effective January 1, 2011 Medicare began covering an annual wellness visit with your provider. And there are no co-pays or deductibles for this visit.

Yout first annual Wellness Visit will include, among other things, a medical history, health risk assessment and an evaluation of physical condition and screening for cognitive impairment. In addition, your doctor will work with you to set a prevention plan, including appropriate health screenings. If after your visit, your doctor determines additional testing is necessary, there may be a fee associated with some services.

The annual Wellness Visit is not an annual physical, nor should it be confused with the Welcome to Medicare Visit – a onetime visit for patients new to Medicare.

Your doctor should be someone who knows you as a person, not just a sick person. The annual Wellness Visit is a strategy session designed to help you and your doctor develop an ongoing health plan intended to keep you healthy, safe and independent for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.

1. What does the annual Wellness Visit cost?

You pay nothing out of pocket for this visit. However, you may incur a copay or deductible expense if additional testing is required.

2. When am I eligible for my

annual Wellness Visit?

After you have had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months. If you’ve had a “Welcome to Medicare Visit” within the last 12 months, you must wait 12 months to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit.

3. What if I’m sick? Can I schedule my sick visit and annual Wellness Visit at the same time?

It will depend on the severity of the illness and your doctor’s schedule but may be possible. However, you will be charged for a sick visit at that time.

4. How often can I have my annual Wellness Visit?

You may have an Annual Wellness Visit once every 12 months.

5. What is covered during the new annual Wellness Visit?

Your first annual Wellness Visit will include:

  • routine measurements such as height, weight, blood pressure and body-mass index;
  • review of medical and family history;
  • establishing a list of current providers, suppliers, and medications;a personal risk assessment (including any mental health conditions);
  • a review of functional ability and level of safety;
  • detection of any cognitive impairment;
  • screening for depression
  • establishing a schedule for Medicare’s screening and preventive services you qualify for over the next 5 to 10 years;
  • other advice or referral services that may help intervene and treat potential health risks;
  • voluntary advanced care planning.

Your first annual Wellness Visit will include:

  • measurement of weight, blood pressure, and other measurements deemed appropriate;
  • an update to medical and family history;
  • an update to the list of providers, suppliers, and medications;
  • a review of the initial personal risk assessment;
  • detection of any cognitive impairment
  • an updated screening schedule; and,
  • a review and update to list of referral services to help intervene and treat potential health risks.

6. Is the annual Wellness Visit the same thing as an annual physical exam?

No. An annual physical is a much more extensive physical examination. In addition to collecting a medical history,
it may also include: Vital signs check, lung exam, head and neck exam, abdominal exam, neurological exam, dermatological exam, and extremities exam. The Annual Wellness Visit should not replace your annual physical.