When spring is in the air we usually hop to the spring cleaning, but just like we have our annual cleaning to do, we also need to make sure we get our annual physical done as well.
For those new to Medicare (senior health insurance, 65+), there is an introductory physical at your first visit covered by Medicare Part B, where the doctor will do some routine exams and some preventative screening for health conditions that may be cause for concern. In this “Welcome to Medicare” visit, those with Medicare Part B should bring as much of their prior history documentation as possible. The doctor will perform a few exams to check your blood pressure, heart rate, vision, weight and BMI (body mass index) to make sure everything looks normal.
The doctor will want to discuss any medication you are already taking, so make sure to bring any records you may have collected from doctors you’ve visited in the past. You and the doctor can discuss the reasons you take your medications, the frequency you take them and the dosage and if it seems your current medication routine is working for you.
You and your physician will also talk about family medical history since we often inherit the health conditions of our ancestors. The doctor will advise you on steps you can take to avoid developing any issues that may run in your family.
The doctor will check to see if you are on schedule for any immunizations or preventative tests, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. He will also discuss your risk for mental illness and ask about your personal safety.
You should also be given the chance to talk about your wishes in regards to your health in the case something happens and you are unable to communicate those wishes for yourself.
After the visit is over, you should receive a written medical plan to remind you of any extra tests or shots you will be needing.
This introductory visit is only available in the first twelve months of you being on Medicare, so don’t hesitate to book your appointment.
If this isn’t your first year of being on Medicare, you are still covered for an annual physical as long as it has been at least 11 months since your last one. At your Yearly Wellness visit, you’ll be instructed to fill out a Health Risk Assessment, which is a questionnaire that looks at your family history and your current health to determine what medical concerns you and your doctor may need to talk about.
The doctor will perform the usual screening tests like checking your blood pressure, sight, height, weight, and cognitive functioning.
You should also get a print-out of any additional diagnostic procedures or immunizations you need to get done before your next physical.
If the doctor recommends you go for additional testing or follow-ups, speak with the front desk about what is covered under your Medicare Part B plan. If the doctor advises you to undergo any procedure that medicare does not cover it’s important to find out the necessity and the cost to you since paying for gaps in Medicare coverage out of pocket can be very costly.