The first appointment beneficiaries make should be the Welcome to Medicare Preventative visit. Following Part B enrollment, beneficiaries should seek a primary care physician (PCP) for all routine visits and health-care services.
When setting up the appointment with a new provider, be sure to let the office know you’re a new Medicare patient.
Tell them you’d like to come in for your initial “Welcome to Medicare” visit. Beneficiaries must make this appointment within the first 12 months of enrolling in Part B.
PCPs use initial visits to help determine any preventative services you may need. Preventative Services are 100% covered when within the first 12-months of enrolling.
Welcome to Medicare Preventative Visit
The “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit is the initial appointment you may receive when you first join Medicare. Aiming to prevent diseases or worsening conditions and boost your overall health. Healthcare providers use Medicare Preventative Services to help keep you healthy.
During this appointment, your doctor will get a better understanding of your current health condition. Doing so by reviewing your past medical history and discussing your family health history.
For example, if family health history includes cancer or high blood pressure, your health-care provider may want diagnostic tests for you as a precaution.
What to Expect
At this point in life, you’ve been to at least one doctor’s appointment. What to expect from the initial preventative visit may be similar.
Upon arrival, the receptionist should provide a new patient packet to fill out. While in the waiting room, you’ll answer past and current health and social questions about yourself and family members.
Then, your provider checks your height, weight, blood pressure, BMI (body mass index) and basic vision to start. Reviewing information from the patient packet, you and your doctor should discuss your situation.
Healthcare providers should review several things. First, reviewing the potential (or current) for depression or other mental health conditions and your ability to properly and safely function in your home and community.
Doctors should provide education and counseling, and any referrals for any risk factors or health needs you may have. Lastly, before leaving, you should receive a checklist or a written plan of action. Which should include, information about any preventative services you may need.
The Welcome to Medicare preventative visit is not a full physical. Initial Welcome visits are to familiarize yourself with your doctor and vice versa. This visit allows the doctor to better understand your health condition. In turn, providing you with the best care possible.
Healthcare providers will talk to senior patients about creating advance directives. An advance directive is a legal document explaining your wishes for health-care should you become too ill to speak and/or make your own decisions.
Providers record your wishes, creating a written and legal document to ensure proper end-of-life treatment. Your family, friends and health care team should have a good understanding of how you want to receive care. Moreover, having an advance directive is like insurance for your wishes.
What to Bring to the “Welcome to Medicare” visit
Preparing important documents and having the proper records before your visit is important. Most don’t know what to bring with them to the initial visit.
Patients should have their medical records and up-to-date immunization records, even if you’re seeing your current primary care doctor. Having all the medical information possible can prevent missing something important.
Try to gather all you can about your family’s health history before seeing your doctor. Family health history helps determine potential health risks. Your doctor will then know what screenings you may need, and what to look for in the future.
The medications you take are important. Make a list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins that you currently take.
Be sure to include each medication (and mg), the dosage, and why you take each one. Bring the list with you instead of lugging around all those medicine bottles. Better yet, keeping that list in your wallet is always a good idea.
How Much Does the Visit Cost
Beneficiaries pay no deductible or coinsurance for the Welcome to Medicare visit. Medicare pays 100% of the approved amount. However, beneficiaries must receive services from a participating provider.
Similarly, Advantage Plans must cover this visit without applying any charges. Charges include deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance. Again, beneficiaries must visit a provider inside the network and meet eligibility requirements.
This is a one-time visit, which must take place within the first twelve months of enrolling in Part B coverage. However, if you wait longer than 12 months after having Part B you may get an annual “Wellness” visit instead.
Yearly “Wellness” visits are similar in comparison. Use this visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan. Current health and risk factors help you and your provider determine what services and screenings you need to stay healthy.
Annual Wellness Visit – Preventive Services
Every year beneficiaries may use the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) to create and/or update their personalized prevention plan. Initially, written plans are given at the “Welcome to Medicare Preventive” visit.
While this may be true, not all beneficiaries make it within the first 12 months. Not to worry, you can create a written plan during the yearly “Wellness” visit.
Each year you can visit your physician and update your plan or create one basing the plan on your current health and risk factors. Doing so can help prevent illness, disease or worsening of existing condition(s).
Many health changes can happen within 1 year; updating your health history and risk assessments help prevent future health concerns. AWV is equally as important as the Welcome to Medicare visit.
Easy to confuse with the one-time Welcome to Medicare preventative visit, instead the AWV is every year. For more information on different supplement plans give us a call. If you rather, complete our online form to see what rates are available in your area now.