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If you’re new to Medicare, you may be wondering what the Welcome to Medicare visit is all about! Lets dive into when to schedule the visit, what it covers and what you should expect to bring.
This visit is a one time only visit offered the first 12 months you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. The Welcome to Medicare visit is not the same as a routine physical exam or annual Medicare Wellness Visit. The Welcome to Medicare visit is an introduction to Medicare and focuses on disease prevention and detection to help beneficiaries live a healthier life.
In this visit, your doctor will discuss your medical and family history, check your blood pressure, weight and height, vision exam and measure BMI. Your doctor will also update any needed screenings you need and make recommendations for future medical services or preventative screenings.
Preventative screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms are important to keep up with, in this visit your doctor will verify your cancer screenings and immunizations are up to date. Further tests may be ordered, if necessary. Your doctors will also give you advice to help you prevent disease, improve your health, and stay well. You will get a written plan (such as a checklist) letting you know which screenings and other preventative services you should get in the future.
Your doctor will offer to discuss advanced directives with you. Advanced directives are legal documents that outline the care you want if you are too ill to speak or make decisions for yourself. It is important to keep this document up to date and share it with friends, family and your medical team. Anyone who may be caring for you if you are ill needs a copy and to know your wishes.
You should take up to date medical records, including any immunization records. Additionally, take a list of your current prescriptions and over the counter medications in case your doctor does not have that list readily available.
Part of the visit will be a discussion about your risk factors, so you should also come prepared to discuss any relevant family medical history or current health/lifestyle factors that may impact your current care plan or future needs.
It’s not too often that you can receive services for Free however, your one-time Welcome to Medicare visit is covered completely by Medicare. However, if your doctor or other healthcare provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit that are not covered under these preventative benefits, you will be responsible for your usual co-pay or deductible. Also, be sure that your doctor accepts Medicare as full assignment to avoid any surprise bills.