What exactly is a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit?
The Annual Wellness Visit is a once-a-year review and examination of your overall health. Medicare started providing Annual Wellness Visits in 2011 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The goal of an Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is to provide you with personalized healthcare by identifying ways to improve your health and to promote preventative screenings.
Who can get a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit?
Any Medicare beneficiary who has been receiving Medicare Part B benefits for at least 12 months and who has not had an AWV within the last 12 months is eligible to receive an AWV.
How often will Medicare pay for an Annual Wellness Visit?
Medicare will pay for an AWV once every 12 months. There are no deductibles or co-payments for an Annual Wellness Visit.
Who performs an Annual Wellness Visit?
The trained and dedicated nurses at JCMG Population Health will perform your Annual Wellness Visit. The focus at Population Health focus is the patient, and through one on one individualized plans of care we can identify Medicare services available to our patients to address specific needs.
What happens during an Annual Wellness Visit?
During an Annual Wellness Visit, a healthcare professional will ask you to complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA). Some patients may elect to complete this prior to their visit via phone or receive through the mail prior to your visit. Your responses provide important information to discuss with your healthcare professional during your Annual Wellness Visit.
The healthcare professional performing your AWV may do a biometric screening which includes blood pressure monitoring and BMI calculation. A comprehensive review of all medications will be performed with education regarding adherence patterns and purpose. The goal is to prevent medication errors and/or misuse in order to ensure safety and efficacy.
Your healthcare professional will also ask you questions to identify any risk factors for depression or other mood disorders, in addition to assessing you for any risk of cognitive impairment.
After the Annual Wellness Visit: Next Steps
The goal of the AWV is not just to assess your health the day of the exam, but also to identify any gaps in your care, schedule preventative screenings, and in general to work closely with you to create a personalized plan to help you improve your health. You’ll leave your AWV with some of your recommended screening scheduled along with a plan for managing your healthcare moving forward.
It’s worth noting that the Medicare Annual Wellness visit is slightly different than the Initial Preventative Physical Examination (IPPE). The IPPE is the “Welcome to Medicare” physical; a one-time service that is always performed by your primary care physician within 12 months of Medicare enrollment. The Annual Wellness visit is available to you at no out-of-pocket expense 12 months beyond your Medicare enrollment date. It is also worth stating, this does not replace a regularly scheduled visit with your provider. This service is in addition to any normally scheduled visit, it’s a service that complements your physician encounter.
Don’t Delay – Schedule your AWV
We encourage you to take advantage of Annual Wellness Visits through Medicare. With help from your healthcare team, regularly scheduled Annual Wellness Visits can help you stay healthier and feel better so you can enjoy your life to the fullest.