New to Medicare? Schedule a welcome visit
”Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit: During the first 12 months that you have Part B of Medicare, you can get a “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including:
• Certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed
• Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
• A calculation of your body mass index • A simple vision test • A review of your potential risk for depression and your level of safety
• An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives
• A written plan letting you know which screenings, shots, and other preventive services you need.
When you make your appointment, let your doctor’s office know that you’d like to schedule your “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit. You pay nothing for the “Welcome to Medicare” preventa- tive visit if the doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment.
If your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit that aren’t covered under this preventative benefit, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.
This visit is covered one time. You don’t need to have this visit to be covered for yearly “Wellness” visits.
Yearly “Wellness” visits: If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get this visit to develop or update a personalized prevention help plan. This plan is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. Your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit. It can also include:
• A review of your medical and family history
• Developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions
• Height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
• Detection of any cognitive impairment
• Personalized health advice
• A list of risk factors and treatment options for you
• A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services. • Advance Care Planning Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers voluntary Advance Care Planning as part of the Yearly “Wellness” visit. This is planning for care you’d want to get if you become unable to speak for yourself. You can talk about an advance directive with your health care professional, and he or she can help you fill out the forms, if you want to. (An advance directive is a written document stating how you want medical decisions to be made if you lose the ability to make them for yourself. It may include a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care).
Note: Medicare may also cover this service as part of your medical treatment. When Advance Care Planning isn’t part of your Yearly “Wellness” visit, the Part B deductible and coinsurance may apply.
When you make your appointment, make sure you let your doctor’s office know that you’d like to schedule your yearly “Wellness” visit.
Your first yearly “Wellness” visit can’t take place within 12 months of your enrollment in Part B or your “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit. You pay nothing for the yearly “Wellness” visit if the doctor or other qualified health care professional accepts assignment. Who’s eligible? All people with Part B are covered.
Your costs in Original Medicare
You pay nothing for the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit or the yearly “Wellness” visit if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment. The Part B deductible doesn’t apply.
However, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply if your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit.
Your doctor or other health care provider may recommend you get services more often than Medicare covers. Or, they may recommend services that Medicare doesn’t cover. If this happens, you may have to pay some or all the costs. It’s important to ask questions so you understand why your doctor is recommending certain services and whether Medicare will pay for them.
Mike Zimmer is president of Bay State Insurance Agency Ltd. in Centreville. He is available to answer your questions or speak to your groups regarding Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements and Medicare Part D (Prescription Plans) He may be reached at 410-758-1680.