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
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.