Did you know that Medicare covers two types of completely free annual exams?
The ‘Welcome to Medicare’ visit must occur within the first 12 months a patient is enrolled in Medicare Part B (the part that covers doctors visits), and 12 months after beginning Part B or having a ‘Welcome to Medicare’ visit, patients become eligible for an Annual Wellness Visits (AWV).
‘Welcome to Medicare’ Visits
( G0402 ) Full Coverage by Medicare
The ‘Welcome to Medicare’ introductory visit is only available within the first 12 months a patient has Part B and is more extensive than the AWV’s. Procedures include:
- A physical examination including an individual’s height, weight, blood pressure, visual acuity screen, measurement of body mass index and other factors
- EKG with interpretation and report
- Hearing assessment
Annual Wellness Visits
( G0438 ) Initial Visit - Full Coverage by Medicare
( G0439 ) Follow ups to Initial Visit
- The AWV takes place with one’s primary care provider, and has NO deductibles, NO Coinsurance and NO Copayments. An AWV includes:
- A personal medical history review
- A health risk assessment
- Physical condition evaluation
- Cognitive impairment screening, including mental health
- Personal prevention plan
The AWV includes more of a preventative discussion with one’s doctor than an actual physical examination.
The ‘Welcome to Medicare’ and AWV provide a snapshot of the patient’s current health and are valuable in that they can be used as a baseline for future yearly visits. These are intended as preventive visits and a way of catching potentially serious health conditions early. The ‘Welcome to Medicare’ visit and AWV are not meant to replace your annual physical exam. An annual physical exam is much more extensive and may include further testing.