Medicare covers a yearly appointment to discuss your plan of preventive care. This appointment is called the Annual Wellness Visit. The Annual Wellness Visit is similar to the one-time Welcome to Medicare preventive visit but has important differences. For example, like the Welcome to Medicare visit, the Annual Wellness Visit is not a head-to-toe physical. However, you cannot receive your Annual Wellness Visit within the first year you are enrolled in Medicare or within the same year you have your Welcome to Medicare exam.
During the first Annual Wellness Visit, you and your doctor or health care provider will create a prevention plan based on your needs. As part of the visit, your doctor will:
- Give you a health-risk assessment
- Take your medical and family history
- Make a list of your current providers, Medications including prescription medications, as well as vitamins and supplements that you may take.
- Identify risk factors and current medical and mental health conditions along with related current or recommended treatments.
- Check your height, weight, blood pressure, and body mass index
- Screen for cognitive impairment i.e. diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
- Review risk factors for depression
- Review your functional ability and level of safety
- Give health advice and referrals to health education or preventive counseling services or programs aimed at reducing identified risk factors and promoting wellness i.e. weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, fall prevention, and nutrition.
Annual Wellness Visits after your first visit may be slightly different. As part of subsequent wellness visits, your doctor will:
- Update the health-risk assessment you completed
- Update your medical and family history
- Check your weight and blood pressure
- Update your list of current medical providers and suppliers
- Screen for cognitive issues
- Update your written screening schedule from previous wellness visits
- Update your list of risk factors and conditions and the care you are receiving or that is recommended
- Provide health advice and referrals, to health education or preventive counseling services or programs.