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Answers to Your Questions About Your Annual Wellness Visit

What is an Annual Wellness Visit?

As part of your Medicare Benefits, Medicare covers an Annual Wellness Visit to your primary care physician to improve the medical care you’re receiving. This is a new benefit that went into effect in 2010.

So it’s like an annual checkup then?

Actually, it couldn’t be more different than an Annual Physical Exam. First of all, there’s no copay. Secondly, its goal is to help your doctor better understand your medical history as well as your potential risk factors for illness. The Annual Wellness Visit is in addition to your Annual Physical Exam to keep you healthy.

Why do I need to have two visits if I’m not sick, isn’t it a waste of time?

On the contrary, your Annual Wellness Visit will save you time over the long run and help you feel stronger and healthier. That’s because the more your doctor knows about your health status the better he or she can treat any health problems that you’re suffering from today or prevent new health problems from occurring in the future.

What happens during my Annual Wellness Visit?

Your primary care physician will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a “Health Risk Assessment.” Your doctor will ask you about your medical and family history and also about any new doctors that you’re seeing or prescriptions you’re taking. Your doctor will assess your risk factors for illness and provide you with a personalized prevention plan for good health. This plan will include any preventive services or screenings that you may need over the next five to ten years.

What won’t happen during my Annual Wellness Visit?

Your primary care physician will not ask about or discuss any new health problems that have not been already diagnosed. Nor will he or she conduct any tests or lab work. If you need to talk about new health problems, schedule another appointment.

What does the Annual Wellness Visit cost?

You pay nothing out of pocket for this visit. However, you may incur a copayment or deductible expense if additional services are performed or ordered by your doctor.

When should I schedule my Annual Wellness Visit?

You should schedule your visit every year. Call your primary care physician and make your appointment today.

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