Medicare appointments: What to expect
Are you a participant in Medicare Part B insurance? If so, Medicare has defined different types of office visits with your primary care provider and care team to optimize your health and well-being.
Welcome to Medicare visit
In the first year of your Medicare coverage, you will schedule an introductory visit or Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE). Typically, this occurs when you turn 65. Your primary care provider, either physician or nurse practitioner, will review your medical history, current health status and future prevention plans.
In this visit, you can expect:
- Thorough review of your medical, social and family history
- Measurement of height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index calculation
- Physical exam
- Administration of necessary screenings (such as mental status exam and fall risk), vaccines, and referrals to appropriate specialized care (for colonoscopy, mammogram or specialists)
- Discussion of advance directives and living will
- Development of a care plan for future screenings, vaccines and management of chronic conditions
Annual Wellness Visit (AWV)
After your first twelve months with Medicare part B, you will be eligible to schedule an annual visit, intended to review your health, medical history and to revise your preventative health plan. These appointments may be completed by your primary care provider or a Medicare Wellness Clinic licensed professional. During this visit you will develop or update a personalized prevention plan. This plan is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your care team develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit.
The visit includes:
- Review of current medications, health conditions, past medical history, family medical history
- Measurements of height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index
- Update the list of current healthcare providers that care for you
- Plan for health screenings, vaccinations and other preventative health services
- Discussion of advance directives
- Create a personalized preventative care plan
The Annual Wellness Visit is intended to be an information gathering session only, it does not include a physical exam. Therefore, if you have a medical concern that you would like to have addressed, please schedule a separate, additional office visit with your primary care physician.
Both the Welcome to Medicare and Annual Wellness Visits are fully covered by Medicare, with the exception of additional tests or screenings added that are not included in the above mentioned list.
What to bring to your Annual Wellness Visit:
- A list of all of your medications, including vitamins and supplements
- Names of all of your healthcare providers, including doctors, pharmacy, therapists, home health agencies, and non-traditional providers
Benefits of choosing Parkview's Medicare Wellness Clinic
Parkview care teams complete the Annual Wellness Visit for Medicare patients regularly. However, external organizations are also offering similar services to patients via a temporary clinic or in local pharmacies. They are often advertised through letters, emails, or phone calls that can be confusing for some individuals. Medicare covers only one wellness visit per calendar year, so how do you choose where to complete the exam?
Although other organizations may provide equivalent services in some cases, consider the benefits of completing your annual Medicare wellness exam with your Parkview Health care team.
- Personalized care: You have an established relationship with your Parkview Health care team and they will be able to tailor the services for you as an individual.
- Past medical history: Your primary care office has access to your medical record, medical history and current list of conditions that you are managing. That detailed information will directly affect their medical decisions to provide the best available services for you.
- Consistency: Labs and radiology images are already established in the electronic record of your health care provider. If any tests or bloodwork are needed, your primary care office can order, complete and follow up on the results and start treatment if necessary.
- Streamlined process: If any abnormal findings occur on the tests, your provider will refer you to a specialist for follow up and/or discuss any necessary treatments with you directly, rather than waiting for a report from outside clinics and then scheduling a visit with you to discuss the next steps.
- Access to local services: Your care team may have a broader knowledge of local services for Medicare patients as well as medical resources to support your healthy lifestyle.
Remember, Medicare covers only one “Annual Wellness Visit” per year, so if you complete a visit at a local pharmacy, via a telemarketer or another traveling clinic, Medicare will not cover a wellness visit at your primary care office. Regardless of where you choose to complete your exam, it is important that you complete the wellness visit annually. This allows you to receive the best and most comprehensive care available. This also helps to ensure that you have access to many of the services for Medicare subscribers. If you have any questions regarding the Medicare wellness visit and services, please contact your primary care office.
The Annual Wellness Visit gives a complete picture of your health and helps you create a plan to be healthier. The more you know about your health, the more likely you are to be your own advocate. So, schedule your Annual Wellness Visit, have a great conversation with your care team as you improve your health and well-being.