| Tue, Aug 20, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Don’t Miss Your Annual Medicare Wellness Visit

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

wellness visitSoon the dog days of summer will turn into the brisk days of autumn. Then before you know it the holidays will be here. You may want to get your Medicare Wellness Visit taken care of soon, if you haven’t already.

Medicare Part B covers one Wellness Visit each year. The main purpose of the visit is to develop or update your personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors.

Eligibility and Cost

You are eligible for a Wellness Visit if you have had Medicare Part B coverage for longer than 12 months. If you’ve had a Wellness Visit in the past, you must wait at least 11 months since your last one before you are eligible again.

You pay nothing for your yearly Wellness Visit as long as your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. This means that the amount Medicare pays for the service is accepted as payment in full. Also, your Wellness Visit is paid for even if you have not yet met your annual Part B deductible.

It’s important to note that you may have to pay coinsurance if your doctor performs tests or services during your Wellness Visit that aren’t covered under the benefit. And the Part B deductible may apply as well. You may want to ask your doctor about the cost of any tests or services that are recommended during your visit.

What to Expect

You will fill out a Health Risk Assessment as part of your visit. It asks a number of questions about your current health and health history. Your answers can help you and your provider focus the visit on what’s most important to help you stay healthy. In addition, you may want to write down any health goals that you have and questions that you would like to ask during the visit.

The Wellness Visit is a preventive care visit. It’s not the same as an annual physical. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor right upfront what the visit includes and what it doesn’t. That way you and the doctor can stay focused and not go into areas that may incur charges.

In general, a Wellness Visit includes:

  • A review of your medical and family history
  • Developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions
  • Height, weight, blood pressure and other routine measurements
  • Detection of any cognitive impairment
  • Personalized health advice
  • A list of risk factors and treatment options for you
  • A checklist of the preventive services recommended for you

Don’t Wait

Remember the old adage, “Prevention is the best medicine.” Your annual Medicare Wellness Visit is one way to stay on top of your health and your health needs. This may help prevent illnesses or help reduce their severity.

Make sure you take advantage of your Wellness Visit benefit each and every year.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

Original Medicare Parts A and B: Learn what’s covered and what’s not with Original Medicare.

Tips for Using Plan Benefits: Watch videos that may help you use preventive services, save on prescription drugs and more.

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

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