If you are on Medicare and want to maintain or improve your health, Medicare’s free annual wellness visits can help.
The purpose of these visits is to help you prevent disease and disability. Your provider will review your health risks and develop a prevention plan just for you. Your personalized plan will identify any possible issues and include a schedule for getting important health screenings. Each year, your provider will work with you to update your plan.
Helping you stay healthy
These visits are free to Medicare patients, and you can schedule one every 12 months. No deductibles, copays or coinsurance are required as long as you meet eligibility requirements and see an in-network provider. However, you may be charged for additional tests — like bloodwork or lab tests that are not part of an annual wellness visit — if your doctor orders them.
“The annual wellness visit is a time for your provider to focus on you and your health risks and to work up a plan to support your continued health and well-being,” says Mary McAfee, MD, an internal medicine physician with Rush Copley Medical Group. She notes that a wellness visit differs from a physical, which typically includes a full physical exam, bloodwork and other tests.
What to expect
At an annual wellness visit, you will complete a questionnaire to assess your health risks. Your provider may review your medical and family history and check your height, weight, blood pressure and other important measures. Your provider will assess your physical abilities to identify any safety issues, and screen you for depression and signs of dementia.
“You will leave this visit with a personalized prevention plan, which includes a list of your risk factors as well as a screening schedule to help you stay on top of preventive services,” McAfee says.
These preventive services include flu and pneumococcal vaccines and health screenings that can detect conditions like breast or colon cancer early when treatment may be more successful.
If you’ve been enrolled in Medicare for more than 12 months, you can schedule your free annual wellness visit by calling your doctor’s office or filling out an appointment request for an annual Medicare wellness visit. Rush Copley Medical Group providers offer these visits to new and existing patients.