Are annual doctor’s visits really necessary, even when you feel perfectly healthy? This is a very popular topic of conversation at Wider Circle Connect for LifeⓇ meetings. And for good reason.
In celebration of August 11 Annual Checkup Day, here’s a look at why those once-a-year wellness visits are an important part of living longer, happier and healthier.
1. It’s free for Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Part B covers the cost of the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) with your primary care physician (PCP). Unlike a head-to-toe physical exam which may not be covered by your Medicare plan, the AWV is focused on preventing illness based on your current health and risk factors.
2. You get a personalized prevention plan.
Preventative care becomes more important as we age. During an AWV, your PCP works with you to create a personalized plan and perform a health risk assessment. Your prevention plan might include immunization schedules, recommended screenings, and resources to address specific health needs (Medicare.gov). Every year, your physician will revisit and update your plan with you, as well as assist with setting up other preventative services as needed.
3. Routine examinations and screenings are included in your visit, helping you get ahead of potentially serious health issues.
Depending on your health situation and personal history, your Medicare plan will cover screenings ranging from cardiovascular disease to depression to various cancers and mammograms (Medicare.gov).
Open exchanges with your physician along with these screenings can help detect physical and mental health issues before they become a bigger problem. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
4. You get quality time with your physician to discuss any health concerns on your mind.
Unlike coming in for a sore knee or a cough, wellness visits provide an opportunity for honest and trusted conversations about any problems you may be struggling with – whether that be depression, loneliness, sleep issues or physical changes associated with aging.
5. Annual visits open the door for advance care planning.
As part of your annual visit, you may also want to consider voluntary advance care planning, which refers to planning for care you would receive if you became unable to speak for yourself. Many physicians will help you document your wishes about future medical treatment if you aren’t able to make decisions about your care. Advance care planning gives many Americans and their loved ones peace of mind that their wishes about future care will be valued and honored.
Need assistance scheduling your next annual doctor’s visit? Have questions about your health plan coverage? We’re here to help. Contact Wider Circle at: (800) 656-0228
The information included in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.