MEDICARE

What is a Medicare wellness exam? How can I schedule a wellness visit?

The Medicare wellness visit will allow your doctor to produce a detailed health plan, tailored to you individually, but not everyone knows how to request the test.

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What is a Medicare wellness exam? How can I schedule a wellness visit?
THEO ROUBY AFP

Individuals who have been in receipt of Medicare Part B for a year or longer are eligible to request an annual wellness test, also known as a wellness visit, to produce a personalised prevention plan against disease and disability.

The Part B deductible does not apply to Medicare wellness exams so, providing you have a doctor or other healthcare provider who accepts the assignment, the visit will normally be free. However you may have to pay coinsurance fees if:

  • Your healthcare provider goes on the perform additional tests or services on the same visit
  • The additional tests or services provided aren’t included in the preventive benefits

What is included in the Medicare wellness visit?

The annual wellness test will allow your healthcare professional to produce a detailed plan for you as a professional, and it will begin with a questionnaire called the ‘health risk assessment.’ These basic questions will provide the background information on your medical history and current situation.

Over the course of the wellness test, the doctor or nurse assigned to you will cover the following areas:

  • Explaining your health risk assessment
  • Measuring height and weight
  • Checking blood pressure
  • Personal and familial medical history
  • Doctors you are in contact with and medicines you take
  • Advice on how to help prevent disease, improve health and generally stay well
  • Changes in your ability to think, learn or remember

The cognitive impairment assessment is designed to check for signs of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as checking for depression and other disorders.

Depending on the outcome of your assessment your provider may decide to order additional tests if required, although they should always check with the individual before recommending anything that would require additional payment.

How to schedule a Medicare wellness visit

To schedule your annual Medicare wellness test, simply call your doctor’s office and ask to make an appointment. You need to ensure that you are currently enrolled in Medicare Part B, and that it has been at least 12 months since your last wellness test.

For those who don’t currently have a doctor, you will need to find a new healthcare profession who accepts Medicare. This can be done in three ways:

  • Use the Medicare website to search for a new doctor
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and follow the instructions to request a new doctor
  • If you are using a Text Telephone (TTY) call 1-877-486-2048