When you turn 65 years old, you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. After doing research to ensure you’ve picked the right Medicare plan that meets your needs and that you’ve properly enrolled at the right time, you can start enjoying some of the benefits your plan offers.
One of those benefits is that within the first year of enrollment, you can make an appointment with your primary care physician for your first “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. Then, once you’ve had Medicare for more than a year, you are eligible for an annual wellness exam every year following.
What is the Medicare Wellness Exam?
The Welcome to Medicare physical will set a reference point for looking at your changes in health over time. This is why it’s crucial you make an appointment for this exam. In this first preventive visit, your doctor will go over your medical and family history, discuss your current health conditions and record any prescriptions you’re taking. Your height, weight, blood pressure and vision will be checked to get a baseline for your care, and your doctor will make sure you’re up-to-date with other preventive screenings and services, such as cancer screenings and shots.
After you’ve been enrolled in Part B for longer than 12 months and have completed the “Welcome to Medicare” exam, it’s important to then follow up by scheduling your annual Medicare Wellness Exams. You just need to make sure at least 11 months have passed since your last appointment. At this visit, your doctor will review and update the same information assessed in the welcome visit, so your personalized prevention plan can be developed accordingly.
There are no copays involved with these Medicare Wellness Exams, and they are not subject to your Part B deductible. However, there may be fees incurred for some additional recommended tests and services. Make sure you talk to your doctor so you’re prepared for any of these fees.
Tips for Preparing for Your Medicare Wellness Visit
Before your next annual wellness visit, do a little preparation work to get the most out of the exam:
- Write down a list of all the medications you’re currently taking, both prescription and over-the-counter. Include vitamins and supplements, too.
- Learn as much as you can about your family medical history so you know if additional preventive screenings may be necessary.
- Gather all your medical information and records to bring to the appointment with you. This will ensure nothing gets overlooked in regard to your overall health.
- Think about your goals when it comes to how active you’d like to be. If you’re looking to start a senior fitness program, have your doctor assess your physical condition and recommend some safe exercises.
Remember, prevention is key to a happy, healthy lifestyle! Around 70% of Americans die each year from chronic diseases and conditions, and many of these are preventable. Schedule your Medicare Wellness Exam today and stay on top of your health.