What is the annual wellness visit?
For those age 65+ covered by Medicare, the Annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a conversation between you and your primary care provider to create a personal health plan that includes a health risk assessment, review of your Advanced Care Planning and preventive care. To prevent future health problems, we will also review your current personal health history, as well as your family health history.
What is preventive care and why do I need it?
Preventive care is what we do to prevent or delay medical problems. Preventive care includes disease-specific screenings, cancer screenings and immunizations. Getting preventive care saves you time, money and the worry that comes with medical problems. And if you avoid medical problems, you’ll be more independent and have a better quality of life for a longer time.
I already go in for a routine physical checkup every year. Is this the same thing?
The emphasis of the Annual Wellness Visit is on prevention and screening, rather than medical problem-focused. The plan you make at your annual wellness visit will help your routine, problem-focused visits run more smoothly. We recommend that you schedule a separate visit to address specific medical conditions. The Annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a covered Medicare benefit in addition to an annual physical.
I don’t feel comfortable going to see my doctor in-person during the pandemic. Could I schedule an annual wellness visit as a telehealth appointment?
Yes! Unlike an annual physical, which includes a blood draw and other possible tests more suited for an in-person exam, the Annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a planning session and conversation—ideal for a telehealth/virtual visit. It’s a great opportunity to check-in with your provider now virtually, then follow up with a physical later.
What should I bring to my planning visit?
When you come in for your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, please bring the following:
- Any medical records you have, including immunization records
- Any family health history you have, in as much detail as possible
- A complete list of medications you take, including vitamins, supplements and herbs—for each medication, write down how often and how much of each you take
- A list of healthcare providers and suppliers currently involved in your care
To schedule your Annual Wellness Visit, please call your primary care provider. Looking for a primary care provider? Visit valleymed.org/drfinder.