Traditionally medical care has focused on treating illness or disease when it occurs, but this approach is slowly being replaced by the belief that if people practice healthy habits they will be less likely to develop illness and disease. Not only are people spared the suffering that goes along with illness and disease, but the hope is that it will reduce the enormous cost of healthcare. Many insurance companies have initiated care management programs for people with certain chronic medical problems. They are finding that by helping people to manage their chronic medical conditions they are able to help these people prevent some hospital admissions. This is certainly a win-win for both these individuals and the insurance companies. However, you do not have to wait until you develop a chronic medical problem before you can get some assistance. If you have gone on Medicare Part B insurance within the last 12 months Medicare will pay for you to have a preventative care visit with your doctor, and if have had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months you are entitled to a yearly wellness visit with your doctor. The information in the two bullet points below is directly from Medicare’s website and gives additional information about these visits.
- A “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit: You can get this introductory visit only within the first 12 months you have Part B. 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. 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 to 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. This visit is covered once every 12 months.
By focusing on how to stay well you can have a better quality of life and, hopefully, lower your medical expenses. That sounds like a win-win to me.
Elder Care Coordinator