Make the most of your Medicare coverage by taking advantage of your Medicare Annual Wellness Visits (AWV), a unique benefit available only to Medicare beneficiaries. Introduced in 2011 as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Annual Wellness Visit is a free yearly appointment with a primary care provider. The main purpose of these visits is health promotion and preventive care for healthy aging.
At your first visit, you and your provider create a personalized prevention plan that can help you stay healthy and avoid injury, illness and chronic conditions. This visit is also an opportunity to address a range of issues that may be affecting your quality of life, such as depression, anxiety and memory loss. This plan is updated and revised annually at each subsequent Annual Wellness Visit, taking into account your current health and risk factors.
Keep in mind that the Annual Wellness Visit is only for preventive care and not for the diagnosis and treatment of an illness, such as the flu or bronchitis. If you want to discuss a specific health problem with your doctor, you’ll need to schedule a separate appointment. An Annual Wellness Visit does not include a head-to-toe physical exam or lab tests.
You are eligible for a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit once you have enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage. However, there are a few different types of Medicare Annual Wellness Visits, depending on how long you have been enrolled in Medicare. Make sure you know which one is right for you:
- Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit — This is a one-time visit you can schedule if you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage for less than one year.
- Initial Medicare Wellness Visit — If you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage for more than a year and did not have a Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit, schedule an Initial Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.
- Subsequent Medicare Annual Wellness Visit — Twelve months after either your Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit, or your Initial Medicare Wellness Visit, you are entitled to a Subsequent Medicare Annual Wellness Visit. You can have this visit once a year.
When you schedule an annual wellness appointment, be sure it is one of these Annual Wellness Visits. This will help ensure that Medicare covers the appointment as a preventive service, and it shouldn’t cost anything. New medical issues that require additional tests or services are not covered by Medicare in the Annual Wellness Visits, and you may have to pay the full cost for these.
Scripps makes it easy to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit. During your visit, you will be seen by a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Call 858-678-6076 or schedule through your MyScripps account. All visits are covered 100% by Medicare so there is no cost to you, including co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles.
- Medicare Wellness Welcome: Schedule this visit if you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage for less than one year.
- Medicare Initial Annual Wellness Visit: Schedule this visit if you have been enrolled in Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage for more than one year and have never had a Medicare Wellness Visit in the past.
- Medicare Wellness Subsequent: Schedule this visit if you have had a Medicare Wellness Visit in the past.