What is the "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam?

What is the  "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam?

The "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam is a preventive doctor's visit and screening paid for by Medicare. It needs to be completed during the first 12 months of enrollment in Medicare Part B. 

What the "Welcome to Medicare" Exam Includes

Preventive Care

During the visit, your doctor will record your medical history, check your vision and take your blood pressure. He or she will take your weight and height to measure your body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat. The doctor will also discuss your family health history and suggest ways to stay healthy.

Immunizations and Screenings

Your doctor will check that you are current on immunizations and screenings for diseases such as cancer. Other tests may be ordered, if the doctor deems them necessary, given your current health and medical history. You'll get a checklist to take home that outlines various types of screenings you should get in the future. 

Advance Directives

If you haven't already created an advance directive, your doctor will discuss the importance of creating one. These legal documents explain in writing the type of health care you would want if you became too ill to speak and/or make decisions. 

Deadline for Completing the Exam

After enrolling in Medicare Part B, you have one year to complete this preventive doctor visit. Medicare will not cover the expense after twelve months following your enrollment date. However, if you do miss the exam, getting an annual wellness exam is an option. The wellness exam is also covered by Medicare.

Cost of the Exam

Medicare covers the "Welcome to Medicare" preventive visit or the yearly wellness visit. (Be sure to check if the doctor is a Medicare-enrolled physician before the visit.) If other services or tests are needed during this visit and aren't covered under these preventive benefits, you may have to pay coinsurance. The Medicare Part B deductible may also apply.

Items to Bring to the Exam

Bring the following things with you when you go to your "Welcome to Medicare" visit:
  • Medical and immunization records
  • A list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you currently take, the daily dosage, and the reason for the medication
  • Family health history
  • Any other information that might help your doctor establish your health history

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What is the "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam?