Medicare Wellness Visit – in the Comfort of Your Own Home

Medicare Preventative Services

Did you know about Medicare preventive services that will pay for a wellness visit in your home? You don’t have to walk or drive to the office of your primary care physician (PCP). Your checkup will come to you. Wellness checkups are part of Medicare’s preventative care initiative.

Two kinds of wellness visits

There are two kinds of home wellness visits. When you first sign up for Medicare Part B, you are eligible for a Welcome to Medicare wellness visit. You can schedule this visit anytime within the first 12 months of enrollment. Home visits are also available through some Medicare Advantage plans.

The second kind, available after the first 12 months of your enrollment, is an annual Medicare Wellness Visit. The visits are conducted by a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner or a Physician’s Assistant.

Basically, they will perform the same checkup as the one you would receive from your PCP.

  1. Record or review family medical history, health conditions, and your prescriptions
  2. Check your blood pressure, vision, hearing, height, and weight
  3. Provide you with a list of screenings you may need, including adult vaccines
  4. Offer any recommendations or education about any lifestyle issues that might be affecting your health

There are no out-of-pocket costs for a visit, no co-pays or deductibles. Medicare covers all.

You will not receive any treatment during a home wellness visit but all findings will be reported to your PCP. If you need treatment, it will be prescribed by him or her.

Identifying a medical condition

While Medicare wellness visits are good for Medicare beneficiaries, some industry analysts accuse some Advantage plans of using the system to reap additional revenues from Medicare. If the nurse or assistant conducting the checkup identifies a medical condition, the plan may be able to raise the person’s risk score. The risk score is a billing formula that means the plan is paid higher rates for sicker Medicare patients.

While that is a questionable practice on the part of the plans and bad for the Medicare budget, at least the identification of a medical condition that needs treatment is a good thing for the patient. Let’s face it, some people are more likely to schedule a Medicare wellness visit if it can occur in their home versus traveling to a provider’s location. If they put off a wellness checkup because of not wanting to travel, the condition might not be identified.

If you are due for a Medicare wellness visit and it is not convenient for you to go to your PCP’s office, call today to schedule the visit to take place in your home. This is a valuable Medicare benefit that should be used. To your health!

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