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Questions for the Experts: What is covered in the Medicare free annual wellness visit?

Questions for the Experts: What is covered in the Medicare free annual wellness visit?

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients. Read Candi Hallermann's, APRN, answer to: I’m on Medicare, and I’ve heard that I can have a free annual visit as part of my benefits?

Q: I’m on Medicare, and I’ve heard that I can have a free annual visit as part of my benefits?

A: That is true. This benefit has been in place since 2011, and it’s completely free to eligible patients. It’s called an Annual Wellness Visit, and is covered under Medicare Part B. All Medicare beneficiaries have 12 months to have their initial preventive physical exam, or the “Welcome to Medicare” exam, and are eligible for an Annual Wellness Visit every 12 months thereafter. All the primary care providers at Campbell County Medical Group, both Family Medicine and Internal Medicine specialists, can provide this Wellness Visit.

An Annual Wellness Visit contains elements that are similar to a check-up or physical. Here is what is included:

  • Review and update medical and family history.
  • Review and update the patient’s list of providers.
  • Measure height, weight, body mass index, (BMI), blood pressure and other routine measurements.
  • Assessment for any possible cognitive impairment.
  • Establish or review a health screening schedule for the next 5-10 years, based on health status, screening history and age. This includes screenings like colonoscopy, mammograms, or lung CT (based on screening criteria), and a review of medications and immunizations.
  • Prepare a list of risk factors and recommended interventions, and a list of treatment options and the associated risks and benefits.
  • Give advice and referrals, as appropriate, to health education or other preventive services such as weight loss, smoking cessation, fall prevention and nutrition.

The Annual Wellness Visit is a great benefit that many people don’t know about or take advantage of. The only thing that can’t be discussed in this visit are any new issues or problems a patient is experiencing. A separate appointment is needed for any new concerns a patient has. If you don't have a regular doctor, you can make a new patient appointment with one of our providers to begin that relationship. That provider can become your 'go to' for those Annual Wellness Visits to help you manage and maintain your health for a long time to come.

Candi Hallermann, APRN, works at the Campbell County Medical Group Internal Medicine Clinic in the Main Clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. Schedule an appointment today at 307.688.3636. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/IM.