By Lucia Lintner, APRN

Medicare beneficiaries have access to an excellent health benefit: the Medicare wellness visit. It provides a snapshot of the beneficiary’s current health as a baseline for future visits with the goal of catching potentially serious health issues early. It’s an excellent opportunity for you and your primary care provider to develop or update a personalized prevention plan to prevent disease and disability, to improve your health, and to keep you healthy. 

Lucia Lintner, APRN

The wellness visit also provides in-depth education regarding disease management and self-care, especially useful for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple complex conditions such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. 

Chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes are often caused by modifiable risk factors, and many patients do not receive the recommended preventive services and follow up treatment. This has brought about an attitude shift in healthcare: Medicare and many other private insurers now view prevention as important as treatment, and an emphasis has been placed on preventive care and wellness to keep people healthy in the first place.

A Medicare wellness visit consists of:

  • Filling out a questionnaire called the “Health Risk Assessment”
  • A review of the medical and family history
  • Developing or updating a list of current medical providers and prescriptions
  • Height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
  • A calculation of the body mass index
  • A simple vision and hearing test
  • Screening for cognitive impairment
  • A review of the potential risk for depression and the level of safety
  • An offer to talk with beneficiaries about creating advance directives or a living will
  • Personalized health advice
  • A list of risk factors and treatment options
  • A written plan highlighting which screenings, immunizations, and other preventive services are needed
  • A review of care received from other providers and specialists
  • Lifestyle tips on maintaining wellness and reducing risks for chronic diseases

The wellness visit is covered once every 12 months. All people with Medicare Part B pay nothing for this visit. The Part B deductible does not apply, and there is no co-payment. However, if the healthcare provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit, which are not covered under these preventive benefits, patients may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.

Your Medicare wellness visit is easy to schedule:

  1. We offer quick access, in some cases same-day appointments, by phone.
  2. Call 855-WVU-CARE (855-988-2273) to confirm eligibility and schedule your appointment.