Successful Aging Resources
Understanding the Annual Medicare Wellness Visit in Indiana
April 20, 2015
Older adults in the Hoosier state may not be aware of a newer Medicare benefit established for them through The Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because a priority for ACA is to help to improve access to preventative screenings, a yearly Medicare Wellness visit was created. Unlike the one-time Medicare Welcome visit, this is a yearly appointment designed to encourage older adults to be proactive in maintaining their health.
Services Provided During the Medicare Wellness Visit
Here is what your primary care physician will cover with you or your Indiana senior loved one during the Medicare Wellness visit each year:
- Personal history: The physician will review your personal lifestyle factors so they are aware of what potential health risks you face. They will likely ask you about exercise, diet, sleep habits, smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Family History: Your doctor will also take time to talk about and update your family medical history. Knowing what genetic risk factors you may be predisposed to can help them determine what preventative testing you need and how often.
- Body-Mass Index: While most of us usually aren’t too excited about having this done, the physician’s assistant will measure your weight and height so they can calculate your body-mass index. This number is used to screen for weight categories that are commonly linked to health problems.
- Vital Signs and Reflexes: During your wellness visit, your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse rate will also be measured. The physician may also test your reflexes and functional abilities.
Other screenings your physician may perform include:
- Cognitive function
- Simple vision test
Finally, your doctor will recommend any preventative screenings they feel are necessary. Common ones include mammogram, colonoscopy, cholesterol, and diabetes.
Medicare Part B Wellness Visit Expenses
Because the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to reduce health care expenditures by focusing on prevention, there is no cost or co-pay to Medicare Part B recipients who take advantage of the Medicare Wellness visit. Medicare recipients are entitled to one wellness visit every 11 months.
One thing to remember, however, is that not all of the screenings and follow-up care your physician recommends may be covered in full by Medicare. While many preventative screenings are provided under the ACA, if further testing is required there may be deductibles and co-pays. To help answer those types of questions, Medicare developed Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services. You can download it for free or call to order a written copy at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).