What is an Annual Wellness Visit?

An Annual Wellness Visit, or AWV, is an appointment you have each year with your primary care provider. The purpose of this appointment is to set up and maintain a personalized prevention plan that takes into account things like your current health and other risk factors.

It is important to note that this is not a complete physical, and the visit is similar to but separate from the Welcome to Medicare preventative visit.

Annual Wellness Exam

What does an Annual Wellness Visit Include?

During your annual wellness visit, your primary care physician will take several routine measurements and give you a health risk assessment. These measurements include checking your height, weight, and blood pressure, as well as a questionnaire about your health status, risk of injury, and other urgent health needs.

Your primary care physician will also perform some tests to determine your functional ability and level of safety. This can include screening for hearing impairments, your risk of falling, and ensuring that you are able to perform daily living activities such as dressing and bathing. This will give the doctor an idea of your overall level of safety at home.

He or she will also conduct additional screenings that will measure cognitive impairment and risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s, chronic depression, chronic anxiety, and other types of dementia. Although Medicare does not explicitly require that doctors test to do this, they are required to use their observations and reports from others to make a determination.

Your doctor will also inquire about your medical history, including family history. They will then make a list of your current providers, medications, and durable medical equipment suppliers to ensure their records are accurate. This will also give them insight into what medicines you currently take in addition to vitamins and supplements.

Based on all the information that was gathered from the steps above, your doctor will then create a written 5-10 year checklist that will include a screening schedule. This will be based on your current health status, medical history, professional medical exams, and Medicare-covered preventative services. He or she will also make referrals to health educators and other service providers to reduce the risk factors identified and promote wellness.

Annual Wellness Exam

Costs and Eligibility

If you qualify for the original Medicare, this covers 100% of the Annual Wellness Visit if you use a participating provider. In this case, you would not pay any deductible, copayment, or coinsurance. Medicare Advantage Plans are also required to cover these visits completely if you receive the service from an in-network provider.

Medicare Part B covers your Annual Wellness Visit if you have been covered under the plan for more than 12 months and if you have not received this kind of benefit within the last year. In addition, you are not eligible to receive your Annual Wellness Visit in the same year that you receive the Welcome to Medicare preventative visit.
If the results of your Annual Wellness Visit require you to seek additional care, you may receive a bill from Medicare for this additional diagnostic treatment.

At familyfirst Family Medical Practice, you can schedule regular annual wellness exams to ensure your health is optimized in the best environment. For additional information, contact us today at (661) 341-3800.