Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

Dave's picture

If you are on Medicare or have a loved one on Medicare, you should read this. If not, thanks for checking-in.

Medicare has a new (at least it was new to me) program called the “Annual Wellness Visit” (AWV). If your medical provider offers this option, it is 100% covered by Medicare, so there is no copay or supplemental payment involved. So it won’t cost you a thing except about an hour of your time at your doctor’s office. However; be aware if you schedule an AWV appointment, and then use the appointment for a medical issue in addition to an AWV, you will be charged for a medical visit.

The AWV is designed to help Medicare recipients achieve health care goals. The visit improves the quality of information providers have documented about your medical background. Most of the visit is spent being interviewed by a health professional (an RN in my case). Part of the visit will be checking your vital signs such as height, weight, blood pressure, vision, etc. The goals to the AWV are:
• Update the accuracy of your medical information. Examples include family history, medications, allergies, etc.
• Evaluate and provide patient information regarding: High risk or inappropriate living conditions. Also end-of-life planning such as wills and medical power of attorney.
• Provide appropriate referrals for any issue found including fall risk, unsafe living conditions or support for hearing and vision deficits.
• Address preventative/chronic disease management gaps. Includes review of immunizations, depression screening, collecting vital signs, tobacco and alcohol usage, etc.

There is another item concerning the AWV you should be aware. If you are in the first year of Medicare coverage and you want an AWV, you will first have a one-time Initial Preventative Physical Examination (IPPE). It is also known as the “Welcome to Medicare Preventative Visit.” Medicare pays 100% for the visit. It is a once in a lifetime visit. Subsequent annual visits will be the AWV. If you have been on Medicare for over one year, you will not be eligible for the IPPE rather you can begin with the AWV. If you need more information you can go on-line at www.cms.gov/site-search/search-results.html?q=annual%20wellness%20visit.

This program is relatively new and designed to improve the prevention aspects of health care of Medicare recipients. Do not be surprised if your primary care physician is not equipped to provide this service at this time. Please encourage your doctor to get on-board, if they do not offer this already.

Early results have shown success with this program in that it improves the health and well-being, while reducing health care expenses, of Medicare users. You can’t argue with the price – free.

If you have any thoughts about what is written here please share them. I’m sure other rChance readers would appreciate reading them.

Remember, it’s rChance to Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way.

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