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Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit: What to Expect and Why It's Important

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

As you age, staying healthy and avoiding illness becomes more important than ever before. As a beneficiary, Medicare affords you the opportunity to stay on top of your health through Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) at no cost.

This post lets you know what Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit is, what to expect during an appointment, and why it is important.

What is Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit?

Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly appointment in which your healthcare provider reviews and assesses your overall healthcare needs. It does not include a comprehensive physical exam or treatment of an ailment.

Rather, you and your healthcare provider discuss your medical history, preventive health screenings, lifestyle, risk factors, and other preventive health topics. The visit enables your healthcare provider to develop a personalized long-term plan to prevent future illnesses and promote overall wellness.

What to Expect During Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit

Before your visit, you'll be asked to complete a health risk assessment questionnaire. Answering the questions enables your healthcare provider to understand your health status and risks. Your visit may also include:

  • Routine measurements, including height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and BMI

  • A review of your family and medical history, including past illnesses and surgeries

  • A review of the prescription medications and vitamins you're taking

  • A review of your current healthcare provider

  • Cognitive assessment for signs of dementia

  • Discussion on the care you would receive when you can no longer speak for yourself (advance care planning)

  • Lifestyle changes, such as starting an exercise program

  • Discussion and advice to quit smoking

  • Counseling on nutrition, management of conditions, and how to maintain overall health

  • Recommendation of preventive screenings and vaccinations based on age, history, and risk factors

What to Bring to Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit

  • Completed Health Risk Assessment questionnaire

  • A list of medications (prescribed and over-the-counter), vitamins and supplements

  • A list of questions or concerns you have about your health or medications

  • Immunization records

Why Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit is Important

Catch Problems Early

Medicare's AWV is designed for preventive care, enabling you to catch health problems early. For example, your blood pressure could be higher, or you could have symptoms of Alzheimer's. By scheduling an AWV appointment, your doctor could detect them earlier when the chances of successful treatment are higher.

Track Your Health

A lot of changes take place in the body. And with age, functions begin to decline. An annual inventory is an opportunity to see how your body is changing. Your primary healthcare provider can look at these changes and make long-term predictions toward good health and well-being.

A Better Understanding of Your Health

Great communication between you and your healthcare provider is a key feature of Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit. You can ask questions, raise concerns about medications and health, and share vital health information. The discussion gives your provider a better understanding of your health.

Enhanced Quality of Life

During the visit, your healthcare provider develops a personalized plan based on your risks and needs. With the plan, you can be proactive and take steps that enhance your quality of life.

Take Charge of Your Health with Medicare's Annual Wellness Visit

You wouldn't delay an annual financial review or skip a car maintenance inspection. More importantly, you shouldn't think twice about scheduling Medicare's AWV. With regular annual wellness visits, you can take steps and work toward a happier and healthier future.



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