Are wellness visits mandatory?
Medicare covers two visit types: the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive exam and an annual wellness visit.
Both are not required, but they can help you maintain health and reduce your risk of certain diseases. They are free and usually include a talk with your doctor, physical exam and screenings.
Why are they important?
Wellness visits are a part of preventive health care and help patients stay in good health. They also build relationships with physicians and allow patients to have open, honest conversations about their personal health and lifestyle.
The doctor may ask questions about your family history and discuss any changes in your life that could affect your health. This can include new medications or a change in your diet.
Your doctor can use this information to better diagnose and treat diseases and other health concerns. Taking steps to maintain good physical and mental health is the key to a long, healthy life.
Many health problems start early, when they are easier and less costly to treat. Getting annual screenings and checking blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels is an important way to catch them before they become serious.
What is a wellness visit?
A wellness visit is a health assessment that usually takes place annually. It includes a review of your medical history, family and other health information, screenings and other preventative services that promote health.
During a wellness exam, your doctor will ask you about your weight, height and blood pressure. They will also check your blood for high cholesterol, diabetes and other conditions that may need screening.
If you have a problem that needs attention, your doctor may schedule another appointment. During this visit, your doctor will discuss symptoms and treatment options with you.
You can help your doctor give you the best care by being honest and bringing all the important information to your visit. Make sure to bring your completed Health Risk Assessment and any medication, vitamins or supplements you take (both prescription and over-the-counter).
How often should I get a wellness visit?
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends adults get a wellness visit at least once a year. This is because regular checkups are critical in preventing illness and identifying disease before it becomes a problem.
During the exam, your doctor will take your blood pressure and weight and perform other tests to screen for common health problems like diabetes or heart disease. They may also talk to you about your risk factors and any symptoms you have.
You should have a list of questions for your doctor to answer during the visit. It’s also helpful to bring a copy of immunization records and any other forms you might need to fill out for school, camps, or sports.
Getting annual wellness exams is important for establishing a strong relationship with your primary care physician and providing you with individualized care that focuses on your lifestyle, risk factors, and pertinent family history. With honest communication, you and your doctor can develop a plan to maintain good health for the future.
What are the benefits of a wellness visit?
A wellness visit can help you and your doctor get a clearer picture of your health. It also can help you make lifestyle changes that promote better health and avoid illness.
During your wellness exam, you will be asked about your health history, physical activity and other factors that may impact your overall health. You will also be given screening tests to determine your risk of certain diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Your doctor will also ask about your family history and current medications. This information can help your doctor make recommendations to prevent problems before they start or treat any that do arise.
Medicare and many insurance companies provide yearly wellness visits at no cost. This benefit can be a great way to build a strong relationship with your healthcare provider and keep your medical care costs down.