Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit

Last month, I posted a brief summary of the 4 parts of Medicare.  Today, I want to make sure everyone knows about a new benefit that was added this year, as a result of the Affordable Health Care Law (Health Care Reform).

Up until now, Medicare only covered your care once you were sick, Now, they will cover the cost of an annual “Wellness Visit” or physical by your primary care physician for everyone who has been enrolled in “Part B” for at least a year, and who has not had their “welcome to Medicare” exam within the last 12 months.

The following services are included in the Annual Wellness Exam:

1. A review and update of your medical and family history

2.  Measurements of height, weight, body mass, blood pressure, heart rate, lung function and other routine measurements

3.  Advice and referrals to help reduce risks to your good health, such as weight loss, stress reduction, fall prevention and smoking cessation

4.  Establishing or updating each person’s screening schedule for the next 5-10 years for appropriate routine screenings such as mammograms, PAP tests or tests for prostate cancer, appropriate to the age and risk factors of each patient

The exam will also include tests to check for cognitive impairment.  Early detection of cognitive concerns give the best opportunity not only for treatment, but for families to plan for the current and future care of someone whose cognition may be declining.

As long as you participate in Part B, there is no co-pay or other cost for this annual exam. 






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