How to Take Advantage of Medicare Wellness Visits
There have been several positive changes in Medicare benefits over the past few years—many of which come with great benefits to seniors. Seniors are able to access free health screenings, prescription drug coverage and other great benefits. However, one of the most helpful of these benefits for many seniors is the Medicare wellness visit benefit.
If seniors aren’t already taking advantage of these Medicare wellness visits—there is no better time to start. In fact, here is some information that can help any senior make sure they are making the most out of these wellness visits.
So, What is the Medicare Wellness Visit Benefit?
This Medicare Wellness benefit was introduced as part of the 2011 Affordable Care Act. Seniors who are enrolled in Medicare can get yearly wellness visits with their primary care physician and no additional cost. These appointments can help the primary care physician to evaluate the senior’s overall health and wellness and make sure they are staying on track.
This is also a great benefit to help seniors assess their current risk for future problems and work with their doctor to create a preventative plan that can help them stay as healthy as possible.
This program is available to all Medicare recipients who have been enrolled in the program for at least a year.
How Is the Medicare Wellness Visit Different From the Welcome to Medicare Visit?
When seniors are first enrolled in Medicare, they will get what is known as the “Welcome to Medicare Visit.” While this is a similar exam to these annual wellness visits, it is not exactly the same thing. The “welcome visit” is a one-time exam and seniors must go to this visit during the first 12 months of their enrollment in Medicare part B.
The Medicare Wellness Visit, on the other hand is a yearly benefit that seniors can take advantage of.
What to Expect During the Medicare Wellness Visit
Wellness exams are pretty painless and straightforward. During these exams, physicians will do the following:
- Evaluate the senior’s weight, blood pressure and body-mass.
- Assess the senior for possible cognitive problems.
- Test reflexes and functional abilities.
- Discuss family history to look for potential genetic risk facts.
- Take down information on smoking and alcohol consumption that can impact personal health.
- Screen the senior for depression.
- Coordinate any necessary preventative screenings based on the exam, including colonoscopies or mammograms.
Of course, if you want to make the most of a Medicare Wellness Visit, the best thing that you do is to make sure that you are going to these exams each and every year so you can really benefit from what it has to offer.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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