Medicare Annual Wellness Visits

Why should I schedule an Annual Wellness Visit?

As part of your Medicare coverage, you are offered an Annual Wellness Visit that provides you and your primary care provider an opportunity to discuss your current risk for illness and injury and develop a preventive plan of action.

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What will this visit cost?

While there is no copay for the Annual Wellness Visit, there may be a copay for any labs or diagnostic imaging conducted during the visit.

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When can I get an Annual Wellness Visit?

If you are within the first 12 months of your Medicare Part B enrollment, you qualify for a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. Once you have been enrolled in Medicare for more than 12 months, you can schedule your Annual Wellness Visit each year.

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What is an Annual Wellness Visit?

It is an opportunity for you and your provider to discuss your current risk for illness and injury and develop a preventive plan of action that includes your choices for future medical care.

During your visit, your provider will:

  • Take your vital signs, such as height, weight and blood pressure
  • Ask questions about your current health status, level of safety and any future health risks
  • Screen for depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues
  • Update your medical history, current medications, and discuss other providers who are contributing to your care

You will have the option to discuss advance care planning with your provider, so that your choices about your future medical care can be documented.

Based on your discussion with your provider:

  • You will work together to develop (or update) a written preventive care screening schedule
  • Your provider may offer health advice, education and/or referrals to other providers to reduce risk factors

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How is an Annual Wellness Visit different from other visits?

  • Your provider will not conduct a full physical exam, such as listening to your heart, lungs, etc.
  • You will probably not get screenings or blood tests during this visit
Medicare Annual Wellness Visits vs. Annual Physical
Annual Wellness Visit Annual Physical
Visit Location
Conduct in office
Conduct via Telehealth
Covered by insurance Depends on plan type
Copay required
Exam Elements
Create or renew prevention plan
Physical examination
Routine measurements (height, weight, BP, BMI)
Review medical history
Assess risk factors and treatment options
Review HRA questionnaire
Update list of providers and prescriptions
Look for signs of cognitive impairment
Set up screening schedule for preventative services
Head and neck exam
Lung exam
Abdominal exam
Neurological exam
Reflex testing
Lab work (blood and/or urine samples) Coinsurance/Deductible may apply

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How should I prepare for my Annual Wellness Visit?

Be sure to bring the following information to your appointment:

  • A list of all of the healthcare providers and durable medical equipment companies that contribute to your healthcare, including community based providers (e.g., personal care, adult day care, home-delivered meals, etc.)
  • A list of all your medications, including calcium and vitamins, as well as the dose you take and how often your take them (If you’d prefer, you may bring in all of your current medication bottles.)
  • Any results of screening tests you may have received from other providers (e.g., screenings for colon cancer, breast cancer, etc.)
  • Any documentation you may have regarding your choices for future medical care, such as an advance directive or healthcare power of attorney
  • Any questionnaires or paperwork that you may have been asked to complete prior to your visit

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Can my Annual Wellness Visit be done via Telehealth?

It is best to come into the office for an annual wellness visit. To ensure our practices are safe, we have instituted the following measures:

  • Limited patient companions, which limits the overall traffic in our office
  • Expanded cleaning of patient areas (and removed shared items like magazines)
  • Screening patients and their companions
  • Practicing social distancing (extra space between seating)
  • Applying CDC guidance
  • Constantly evaluating procedures (ensuring that they are aligned with CDC guidelines)

In certain cases, you may be eligible to receive your Annual Wellness via a telehealth appointment. Your provider’s office can help determine if you are eligible.

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