If you are insured through Medicare, you may not know that you qualify for free, annual wellness visits with your primary care provider. Seeing your provider regularly is essential to both your current and future health.
If you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B for more than 12 months, you are eligible for one free wellness visit each year. (If you just enrolled, don't worry—you also receive a free "welcome" visit.) These appointments allow your provider to monitor your well-being and detect and treat new health concerns as early as possible.
A wellness visit includes the following steps and services:
• You will fill out a questionnaire to help your provider assess your health.
• Your provider will measure your height, weight and blood pressure.
• He or she will also screen for any issues with memory or cognition.
• You will review your medical history together and talk about risk factors or treatment options for any current conditions.
• Your provider will create a health care plan for your next five to 10 years. This may include recommended screenings, vaccines or new medications.
There may be additional costs if you need tests or procedures that are not covered by Medicare.
In order to prepare for your wellness visit, be sure you do the following:
1. Bring any relevant medical information with you, for example, vaccine records and current prescriptions.
2. Know your family medical history. Your provider will use this information when recommending other tests or health checks.
3. Make a note of anything you might want to discuss. For example, do you want to plan advance directives or think about making your home safer?
And, equally as importantly, schedule your next annual visit as soon as possible. This will help you protect your health and make the most of your Medicare coverage.
Please keep in mind that your insurance coverage may change in 2019. That’s why you should check our website at WatsonClinic.com/insurance for a complete and updated list of the many insurance plans we honor.
Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; HealthinAging.org