What are Medicare annual wellness visits?
Medicare annual wellness visits are office visits that help you and your care provider plan out your preventive care options for the next 12 months. It serves a purpose similar to the exam you receive when you enroll in Medicare, gathering baseline information that can help establish your care needs for the upcoming year. Annual visits can begin after your first year of enrollment in Medicare, and cannot be conducted in the same 12-month period as your “Welcome to Medicare” initial exam.
What happens during the Medicare annual wellness exam?
Your visit will begin with a medical history and an assessment of your health risks, including your health status, risk for injuries or depression, lifestyle behaviors and any urgent health needs you may have. A list of all your current healthcare providers, medical devices and prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements will be created to make sure your healthcare needs are being met. You and your doctor will work together to create a screening checklist to include tests and evaluations based on your individual preventive healthcare needs. Your height, weight and body mass index will be measured and recorded as well, and you may have a simple screening test to look for signs of cognitive impairment. In addition, your functional ability to perform regular tasks without falling or incurring other injuries will be assessed. Finally, you’ll be provided with guidance about how to maintain or improve your health as well as referrals to other healthcare providers as needed.
Will every annual exam be the same?
Not necessarily; just as your health needs can change as you get older, your exam may also differ in the types of tests, evaluations, recommendations and referrals provided during your exam to ensure you receive the best care possible as you age.