If you’re new to Medicare, you get a free “Welcome to Medicare” visit. You may be wondering what the “Welcome to Medicare” visit is all about and why it’s worth scheduling.
What is the “Welcome to Medicare” visit?
The "Welcome to Medicare" visit is a one-time-only preventative health care visit covered by Medicare Part B. It is not the same as a routine physical exam or annual Medicare Wellness visit. The Welcome to Medicare visit is an introduction to Medicare and focuses on disease prevention and detection to help beneficiaries live a healthier life.
You have twelve months from the date of your initial enrollment into Medicare Part B to complete the visit1.
What do I pay for the “Welcome to Medicare” visit?
You pay nothing for this visit if the doctor or other health care professional you see for it accepts Medicare, and the Part B deductible doesn’t apply.
However, if your doctor performs additional tests or services during this visit that are not covered under the preventative benefits, you may have to pay a coinsurance. In this case, the Part B deductible will also apply.
What your “Welcome to Medicare” visit covers
During your “Welcome to Medicare” visit, you and your doctor will discuss disease education and prevention. Your doctor will also review your medical and health history, such as:
- Past medical/surgical history, such as illness, hospital stays, operations, allergies, and injuries
- Current medications and supplements, including over-the-counter vitamins
- Depression and safety screenings
- Family health history
- History of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use
- Diet and exercise
The visit will also include:
- Measurements for your height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index (BMI)
- A simple vision test
- Review of your risks for depression
- A written plan for screenings, shots and other preventive services you may need
- In some cases, a discussion about creating an advance directive
Remember, if diagnostic tests or other services are performed that are not covered by the "Welcome to Medicare" visit, you may be responsible for copays and coinsurance.
Prepare for your “Welcome to Medicare” visit
Make the most of your “Welcome to Medicare” visit by compiling some important information and reference documents beforehand. Gather and take the following items with you to your visit: Medical records, including immunization records; a detailed family health history; and a full list of medications and supplements, including calcium and vitamins, and how often and how much of each is taken.
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