What You Should Know About Your Annual Wellness Visit
An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. That’s why anyone who gets Medicare should schedule a free annual wellness visit. This appointment gives you a chance to get personalized advice to help you prevent disease and boost well-being.
What can you expect?
You won’t get a thorough physical exam at your annual wellness visit. Instead, think of this appointment as a planning or strategy session designed to keep you healthy.
Here’s what should happen:
You’ll fill out a health risk assessment. This may include answering questions about your mental health, activity level, alcohol and tobacco use, and ability to do day-to-day activities—like eating and getting dressed.
You’ll talk about your medical and family history. Your provider will also ask about which medicines you’re currently taking and if you’re seeing any other doctors.
Your provider will check your blood pressure, weight, and height.
Your provider will do a cognitive assessment to look for signs of dementia.
You’ll go home with a personalized health checklist for preventive services, like screenings and shots, to get over the next 5 to 10 years.
Your healthcare provider may also start a conversation with you about advance care planning. They can help you fill out forms detailing the type of care you want to receive if you ever become unable to speak for yourself.
Come prepared for your visit
To help you fill out the health risk assessment and answer your provider’s questions, bring these items to every appointment:
Your medical records, including when you got shots
Your family’s health history
A list of every medicine you take, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements.
This information is often readily available in your electronic medical record (EMR). Both you and your provider would have access this. If you don't have an EMR, ask your provider if they use one.
Doctor or other health provider? You choose
You can make your appointment for the annual wellness visit with your regular doctor. Or, choose another healthcare professional, such as a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or health educator.