The Importance of Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visits and Screenings

Preventive health services are critically important to maintaining your quality of life, regardless of age or health status. Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit is one vital step to regularly staying on top of your care.

About the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

After you have had Medicare Part B for 12 months, you can schedule your Annual Wellness Visit with Medicare. Every 12 months, Medicare will cover this visit at 100% if you visit a participating provider (one who accepts the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for covered services).

The Annual Wellness Visit is a standardized “well visit” with your primary care provider, usually a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who manages your health care and refers you to specialists when necessary. During the visit, your provider will take measurements, assess you with preventive exams, update your history, and create a health care plan for the following year. The health assessment can help providers catch abnormalities early and change your care to help you stay well.

What’s Covered During the Visit

On top of the typical measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure, your PCP will also screen you for hearing impairments, fall risk, cognitive impairment, and depression. They will also determine your level of safety at home and whether you can perform the activities of daily living (i.e., feeding, bathing, etc.). You will be asked to complete a health risk assessment, list current providers and medications, and update your family medical history.

Your provider will offer counseling and health advice, then build a preventive screening schedule that will keep you on track with health care measures you should be taking based on your risk, history, and the other data they have gathered during the visit.

Value of a Personalized Prevention Plan

Preventive health services are critical for maintaining wellness throughout life. Especially with lifestyle changes that come with a chronic disability or advanced age, the importance of regular checkups cannot be overstated. You might find that you are perfectly well—that’s great! You still leave with an updated plan to keep you engaged with your health. And if your provider were to have a concern, they will create a plan to address the trouble and get you the help you need.

How to Prepare for Your Annual Wellness Visit

The first Annual Wellness Visit will involve the most preparation and paperwork. Plan ahead by preparing a list of your current healthcare providers, prescriptions, supplements, and durable medical equipment. You will also need to provide your health history and your family’s health history, so be prepared with those details as well. Once you have given those details, you should have a lighter burden in 12 months when you simply need to give updates.