What is a Medicare Wellness Visit?
If you’ve had Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) for at least a year, you’re eligible for a free preventive visit called a Medicare Wellness Visit. This appointment is different from a physical because it focuses on disease and disability prevention.
During your Medicare Wellness Visit, your health care provider—such as a doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse—will work with you to develop a personalized plan for your health and wellness goals.
How much does a Medicare Wellness Visit cost?
Under Medicare Part B coverage, the Wellness Visit is free each year if your health care provider accepts the assignment. If your provider does any additional tests or services during your visit, those may not be covered. If you have questions during your appointment, ask your provider about what is and isn’t covered.
What happens during a Medicare Wellness Visit?
At your yearly Medicare Wellness Visit, your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a Health Risk Assessment. This assessment will help them come up with a personalized prevention plan to keep you healthy. During your visit, your provider may also:
- Discuss your medical and family history.
- Review your current list of health care providers (such as specialists like a cardiologist, oncologist, or pulmonologist) and prescriptions.
- Check measurements like your blood pressure, height and weight.
- Offer personalized health advice.
- Put together a customized checklist of screenings or assessments you need over the next year.
- Perform a safety assessment which includes home safety and risk for falls.
- Talk to you about advance care planning. Advance care planning helps you determine what type of care you’d like to receive if you cannot make health care decisions for yourself.
If you take opioids, your provider will:
- Assess your risk factors for opioid use disorder.
- Assess your current pain levels and treatment plan.
- Share information about non-opioid pain management options.
- Refer you to a specialist if needed.
Another key part of your wellness visit is the cognitive assessment, where your provider checks you for signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. Signs of cognitive impairment include difficulty:
- Making decisions
- Managing your finances
- Learning new information
- Remembering information
If your provider thinks you have signs of cognitive impairment, they’ll refer you for a separate appointment to check for conditions like:
When you go to your Medicare Wellness Visit, bring:
- Your medical and immunization records
- Family health history information
- Notarized and signed living will or advanced directive
- A list of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, and supplements you take
What to expect during a Welcome to Medicare visit
You’re eligible for a free “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit if you’ve had Medicare Part B for less than 12 months. Similar to the yearly Medicare Wellness Visit, this appointment also includes a:
- Depression risk assessment
- Safety assessment
- Calculation of your body mass index (BMI)
- Basic vision test
- EKG (if you’ve not had one in the last 12 months)
If you’re covered by Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), ask your primary care provider about scheduling your “Welcome to Medicare” visit or annual Medicare Wellness Visit to keep you as strong, healthy, and safe as possible.
To find a primary care provider near you, visit pardeehospital.org/primarycare.