After you’ve been enrolled in Medicare Part B for 12 months or longer, you qualify for a free Annual Wellness Visit. This is similar to the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE)/Welcome to Medicare preventive visit, but that is offered only once in the first 12 months of Part B enrollment.
Annual Wellness Visits are available once every 12 months after the first year—but not every senior takes advantage of the service.
If you haven’t been keeping up with your yearly visits, you’re missing out on a great tool for preventative health planning. While not mandatory, the Annual Wellness Visit is a way to stay on top of your health concerns—past, present and future—and since it’s free, there’s no reason to skip it. Even if you think you feel fine, it gives you a chance to talk to your healthcare provider about health risks and concerns.
Follow through with your personalized health plan
The best reason to go to your annual visit is to set yourself up for the best possible health outcomes. Your visit isn’t designed to diagnose you with anything (although you may be screened for changes regarding depression and/or cognitive impairment). Instead, it’s to discuss changes in your health, mood and cognitive ability compared to your IPPE and prior Annual Wellness Visits.
This is also a unique opportunity for you to actually talk to your healthcare provider about all of your health concerns and develop strategies to tackle any new issues you’re experiencing. You can also discuss your medications, side effects and potential interactions, which is especially useful if you see multiple providers for different issues.
Healthcare providers rarely have time to sit down and chat with their patients about a variety of problems—they usually book appointments for specific issues. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of this free yearly visit. By utilizing your free annual visit, you can set yourself up for great health—and lower healthcare costs—later in life.
Preparing for your visit
To get the most out of your Annual Wellness Visit, follow this checklist.
- Confirm the details: Check your calendar to make sure you’re within the eligible time period and call your provider to make sure they offer Annual Wellness Visits.
- Make a list of all your providers: From specialists to holistic medicine providers, it’s useful for your general practitioner to have the names and contact information for all of your healthcare providers. They may need you to sign a release so they can see your medical records.
- Make a list of or bring your medications and assistive devices: Write down all of the assistive devices you use and medications you take, including dosages and frequency. This includes over-the-counter medicine like antihistamines, cough syrup, herbs, dietary supplements and vitamins.
- Write down all of your questions: Finally, make a list of questions you want to ask, and leave enough room so that you can take notes. It’s normal to be nervous during doctor visits, and it’s easy to forget what you wanted to discuss. Planning ahead ensures that you’re prepared to discuss all of your health concerns.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to stay on top of your health. Set a reminder to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit as soon as the next cycle arrives!
If you need more coverage than Original Medicare provides, SeniorCare Benefits is here to help. Give us a call at 1-888-230-0269 to learn more about Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plans and which plans might be right for you.
By clicking the “Get a Free Quote” button, I authorize SeniorCare Benefits and its affiliates to contact me at the telephone and email address provided via live, pre-recorded or autodialed calls, email or text message. My carrier’s message and data rates may apply. I understand this is not a condition of purchasing any property, goods and services and that I may revoke my consent at any time.