It is a known fact that as we age, we are more likely to get sick due to the weakening of our immune system. Illnesses hit us harder, recovery takes longer, and prevention becomes even more important. One of the best ways to stay on top of your health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases is to build a relationship with your primary care provider and schedule your no cost Annual Wellness Visit. Yes, you read that right, no cost. All Medicare members are covered to have an Annual Wellness Visit or Welcome to Medicare visit at no additional cost. This may come as news to you, so follow these tips to help prepare for your visit and learn what to expect after you arrive.
Welcome to Medicare Visit
If you are new to Medicare or have had Medicare for less than one year, than you are covered to have a Welcome to Medicare Visit. The purpose of this visit is to start your journey in Medicare off right. You will talk to your doctor about your medical history and discuss preventative care to help you continue living a happy and healthy life.
Annual Wellness Visit
If you have had Medicare for more than a year, then you are covered to have an Annual Wellness Visit. The purpose of this visit is to talk to your doctor about your health and wellness goals and create or update your personalized prevention plan to achieve what matters the most to you. Your goal doesn’t have to be climbing Mount Everest. It could be something as simple as being able to climb a set of stairs without feeling out of breath or being able to play with your grandkids.
After you’ve scheduled your appointment, make sure to mark it in your calendar and take note of the below items. You’ll want to make sure this information is up to date or readily available to reference during your appointment to ensure your physician can provide you with the best support.
- Make sure your Primary Care Provider is up-to-date. You can confirm or update your Primary Care Provider on Blue Connect (https://www.bluecrossnc.com/members).
- Make a list. This is your time to talk to your doctor about what matter the most to you. Make a list to guide your discussion so you don’t leave thinking “Oh I wish this” or “I should have talked about that.”
- Know your family history. Your physician will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called the Health Risk Assessment. Some of the questions will ask about your family’s medical history because this may identify potential health risks for you.
- Know your medications. Have a full list of the medications you are taking. The list should include all prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.
What NOT to Expect
An Annual Wellness Visit is not the same thing as a head-to-toe physical. Although you won’t be poked and prodded, this doesn’t mean the Annual Wellness Visit is not important. The Annual Wellness Visit is a great opportunity for you to check in with your doctor and make sure your concerns are addressed and your preventative health is in order. It is also a great place to set goals and see how you’re progressing, doing this will help ensure your health doesn’t limit you from enjoying your life.
If you are new to Medicare or have yet to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit for 2020, set a reminder to reach out to your physician’s office. If you need help finding a physician that is in-network, please use our Find a Doctor tool.