Did you know your Medicare coverage includes an annual wellness check up visit? 

Only a small percentage of Medicare recipients use their annual wellness visit benefit. The annual wellness visit is not a physical exam. You’ll fill out a questionnaire called a “Health Risk Assessment” at this visit.  Answering the questions helps you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy. For example, if you show risk factors for diabetes, the Diabetes Prevention Program and Medical Nutrition Therapy are two preventive benefits which might help you control blood sugar levels with healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. 

Your prevention plan may include recommendations for additional screenings or tests for medical issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancers.  Some of these screenings may be covered by Medicare on a schedule, like once every 12 months or once every 5 years. If you get the screening more often, you may have to pay for the extra screenings. While the annual wellness visit has no costs to you; the additional tests or services might require you to pay a coinsurance or deductible. 

The annual wellness check-up will review your vaccinations, and even do cognitive assessment screening. The cognitive impairment assessment looks for signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and checks for depression or other mood disorders.  

Learn more about Medicare Preventive benefits and covered services at Medicare.gov. Finding health issues early increases your odds of a better outcome or long-term prognosis, and it also reduces costs—to you, as well as to the Medicare program. You’re paying a monthly premium for your Medicare, get the most bang for your buck by utilizing the free preventive services!

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