Medicare Minute

August 2017


Introductory Medicare Doctor Visit and Yearly Wellness Check

By David S Edge

When you sign up for Medicare you are eligible for an “Introduction to Medicare” visit to your Primary Care Doctor. There are certain items and procedures that are covered in this visit. But this introduction visit is not to be confused with your “Annual Wellness Check Up”.

Your Introduction to Medicare visit with your Primary Care Doctor must be made within the first 12 months of being on your Medicare plan. The introductory visit can include: Medical history, height, weight, blood pressure, body mass Index, vision test, and the doctor can also counsel you for smoking cessation and weight loss. The doctor can even give you a written plan to assist you in correcting any of these type issues. They can also cover your vaccination history or advice if you need shots or any other preventative services. You will want to bring any medical documents you have, a list of medications you currently take, anything to assist the doctor with medical history. This introductory visit has no cost as long as the doctor accepts the assignment.

You need to be on your Medicare Advantage plan for 12 months before you can receive your Annual Wellness Check, which can include: Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, bone mass measurement, mammogram, cardiovascular disease screening, cervical/vaginal cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, Fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, barium enema, multitarget stool DNA test, diabetes screening, flu shots, glaucoma test, hepatitis B shots, hepatitis C screening test, HIV screening test, lung cancer screening, pneumococcal shot, prostate cancer screenings, and STD screening.

These visits are important to your health care in that they assist your Primary Care Doctor in creating a baseline on your personal health and what is normal for you. This, in turn, helps the doctor spot abnormal or anomalies in your health in the future.

Medicare made these visits and the labs or tests either free or low in cost so that you have no excuse to not go to your once-a -year wellness check.
Doctors want to see you so that they can find a medical health issue while it’s small and it can be fixed quickly and inexpensively. In other words, nip it in the bud before it’s a real medical issue or life threatening.

So no excuse! See your doctor at least once a year for your free screenings and be proactive in helping your body stay healthy!!