Did you know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States for both women and men? This is why it’s so important to be proactive and take steps to protect your heart health, especially as you age. You should start by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to find out what your risk factors are and how to lower them. Taking advantage of your Medicare annual wellness visit is the first step.
Get Early Detection Through Preventative Heart Screenings
Your Medicare benefits cover a cardiovascular disease screening once every five years with no cost to you. This screening includes a set of tests that help detect the early signs of heart disease, and it also measures blood fat, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. If you’ve had a heart condition like a heart transplant or heart attack, Medicare will cover cardiac rehab programs that include education, exercise, and counseling.
Your Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly appointment that you set up with your primary care doctor to update or create a personalized prevention plan. The plan could help prevent illnesses based on your risk factors and current health. This visit isn’t a complete physical. Also, it’s very similar but different from the Welcome to Medicare preventative visit you get one time.
Eligibility Requirements for the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit
Medicare Part B will cover the cost of this visit if you meet the following criteria:
- You haven’t had a wellness visit in the past 12 months
- You’ve been enrolled in Part B for over 12 months
- You didn’t get your Welcome to Medicare preventive visit in the same year as your Annual Wellness Visit
During your first Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, your primary care doctor will come up with a personalized prevention plan. Additionally, they may also:
- Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
- Give you a health risk assessment that can include a questionnaire. This questionnaire will ask you about injury risks, health status, urgent health needs, and behavioral risks.
- Review your level of safety and functional ability, including finding out your risk for falling and screening for hearing impairments. They may also assess your ability to perform basic daily functions.
- Learn about your family and medical history.
- Make a list of any durable medical equipment suppliers, your current providers, and medications. These medications will include supplements, vitamins, and prescriptions.
- Create a written 5 to 10-year screening schedule.
- Screen you for cognitive impairment, including diseases like forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, Medicare doesn’t require these tests or screenings.
- Screen for depression.
- Provide referrals and health services for preventive counseling services and health education aimed at reducing any identified risk factors you may have while promoting wellness. Preventive counseling and health education can relate to physical activity, weight loss, fall prevention, smoking cessation, and nutrition.
If you qualify, Original Medicare will cover the cost of your Annual Wellness Visit at 100% of the Medicare-approved amount with no costs to you. You do have to have your visit with a participating provider. You won’t have to pay a coinsurance or deductible to have this visit. Medicare Advantage plans have to offer the same coverage levels as you’d get under Original Medicare without applying any copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance as long as you visit a provider that is in the plan’s network. You also need to meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements for this visit.
During this visit, your provider may discover that you need to treat or get further testing for a new health issue or problem. This additional care falls under the diagnostic care category, and this means that your provider is providing treatment because of certain risk factors or symptoms. Medicare might bill you for any diagnostic treatment you get during your preventive visit.