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Be sure to schedule your annual Medicare visit

By Cherie Spragg • Jan 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM

As we start the New Year, it’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions and a great time to think about scheduling your annual Wellness Visit. Simply contact your primary care physician/provider to schedule your appointment for the year. This visit is part of your Medicare benefit and most insurances covers a similar type of service each year.

Medicare exams: What you need to know

Did you know that Medicare covers two types of wellness visits for people aged 65 and older? Those who are new to the Medicare program are eligible to receive a one-time Welcome to Medicare preventive exam. After that, Medicare covers Annual Wellness Visits for Medicare recipients.

The Welcome to Medicare exam is for new Medicare patients, and must be done within your first year of coverage. This initial preventive physical exam occurs only once during your first 12 months as a Medicare patient. After that time window, you may receive an Annual Wellness Visit … but you must wait at least one year following your Welcome to Medicare exam.

Included in your Welcome to Medicare exam:

· An evaluation of history, health conditions and prescription medications.

· A baseline check of blood pressure, vision, weight and height.

· A recommendation of screenings and vaccinations.

At the annual wellness visit your healthcare professional will:

· Talk to you about your medical history.

· Review your risk factors.

· Develop a personalized prevention plan to keep you healthy.

Be aware that your Medicare annual wellness visit is not the same as a regular yearly physical exam. Medicare is very specific about what its annual wellness visit includes and excludes.

The annual wellness visit does not include:

· A hands-on exam.

· Testing recommendations.

· Discussion of new or current medical problems, conditions and medications.

For these issues, patients must schedule another appointment.

Medicare pays 100 percent of your welcome to Medicare exam and annual wellness visits with no copayment and no deductible.

For more information about the welcome to Medicare preventive exam and Medicare’s annual wellness visit, ask your family physician or primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, Fisher-Titus Medical Care can help you find one. Call 419-660-2900 for more information or to schedule an 


EDITOR’S NOTE: Cherie Spragg is the senior vice president of population health at Fisher-Titus Medical Center. She is a registered nurse and also has a master’s in nursing. Spragg has more than 40 years of experience in health care.

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