By Joan Weems, RN
When you have Medicare, you can get an introductory “Welcome to Medicare” wellness check visit only within the first 12 months you have Medicare Part B. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed. It also includes:
- Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
- A calculation of your body mass index
- A simple vision test
- A review of your health risk assessment
- Your medical and family medical history
- A review of your other physicians and why you see them
- A review of any medicines you take
- A review of your potential risk for depression and your level of safety
- An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives
- A written plan letting you know which screenings, shots, and other preventive services you need
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers the following screenings, shots or preventive services:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
- Alcohol misuse screenings & counseling
- Bone mass measurements (bone density)
- Cardiovascular disease screenings
- Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy)
- Cervical & vaginal cancer screening
- Colorectal cancer screenings
- Depression screenings
- Diabetes screenings
- Diabetes self-management training
- Glaucoma tests
- Hepatitis C screening test
- HIV screening
- Mammograms (screening)
- Nutrition therapy services
- Obesity screenings & counseling
- Prostate cancer screenings
- Sexually transmitted infections screening & counseling
- Shots: Flu shots, Hepatitis B shots, Pneumococcal shots
- Tobacco use cessation counseling
Of course these screenings and shots and tests must be ordered by a physician. This visit is covered one time. You don’t have to have this visit to be covered for yearly wellness visits. These wellness visits can be made yearly but they must be at least 12 months between the last wellness visit for Medicare to cover a wellness visit. And of course your physician must accept Medicare for Medicare to be able to be billed.
Who can get Medicare coverage?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program. You may be able to get Medicare if you:
- Are age 65 or older
- Are under age 65 and have a disability
- Have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure) and need dialysis
- You have been living in the United States legally for at least five years to be eligible for Medicare
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WELLNESS VISIT
Gather important information.
Take any medical records or information you have to the appointment. Include important information like:
- Your name and birth date
- The name and phone number of a friend or relative to call if there’s an emergency
- Dates and results of checkups and screening tests
- A list of shots (vaccines) you’ve received––and the dates you got them
- Medicines you take, how much you take, and why you take them (including over-the-counter medicines and vitamins)
- Phone numbers and addresses of other places you go for health care, including your pharmacy
- Any health conditions you have, including allergies
Make a list of any important changes in your life or health.
Your physician or nurse will want to know about any big changes since your last visit. For example, write down things like:
- Becoming unemployed
- A death in the family
- A serious illness or injury
Make a wellness plan with your physician.
During the yearly wellness visit, the doctor or nurse will give you a short written plan––like a checklist––to take home with you. This written plan will include a list of the screening tests and other preventive services you will need over the next five to 10 years.
Your plan may include screenings for cancer or other diseases and making healthy changes, like getting more active, eating healthy, watching your weight, quitting smoking, preventing heart disease and diabetes, lowering your risk for falls or getting shots for older adults.
Many people like to brag about never going to the doctor and then when they finally go to the doctor it is too late for any treatment. Be smart and be sure to schedule a yearly wellness visit with your doctor. A yearly wellness visit is a great way to help you stay healthy.
I hope you never need Victory Home Health and Hospice. But if you do get sick and need care in your home, give us a call at 888-815-7922. We would be honored to help you in any way we can.
Victory Home Health and Hospice plus Medical Equipment can assist you with all your healthcare needs. Call us at 888-815-7922 and a nurse will be glad to assist you with any questions you might have.