Welcome to Medicare! and Annual Wellness Visits

Many people new to Medicare are unaware that Medicare covers a one-time a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit and follow-on annual wellness visits. These services are offered at no cost to Medicare Beneficiaries as long as your provider accepts Medicare assignment. But there are guidelines for obtaining these services at no cost:

  • A one-time “Welcome to Medicare” visit is available only within the first 12 months of being covered under Medicare Part B. During this visit, your physician reviews your overall health and potential risk factors; takes measurements, such as those for height, weight, and blood pressure; performs a simple vision test; provide information about preventive screenings; and identify other care and services that might be beneficial.
  • The “Annual Wellness Visit” is available each year after you’ve had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months. Your physician develops personal prevention plan; reviews your medical and family history, your key providers, and your medications; takes various measurements; tests for cognitive impairment; and lists risk factors and treatment options. If you schedule an annual visit before a full year has elapsed, Medicare will not cover it and you will be charged.

You pay nothing for the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit or the yearly “Wellness” visit if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts Medicare assignment (e.g., contracts with Medicare and agrees to Medicare’s reimbursement schedule). For these visits, the Part B deductible doesn’t apply. However, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply if your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit that aren’t covered under preventive benefits.

For more details, visit the Medicare website at: https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-visit-and-yearly-wellness-exams.html.