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What is a “Welcome to Medicare” Visit?

Just the Essentials…

  • When you first enroll in Medicare, you will become eligible for an initial preventive physical exam called a Welcome to Medicare visit.

  • This visit typically includes a review of your medical and social history, a review of your safety and risk factors, and a basic physical exam.

  • A Welcome to Medicare visit is paid for by Original Medicare so long as you do not require additional testing or treatment that are outside of Welcome to Medicare requirements.

  • There are many vital health screenings that Medicare covers. MedicareInsurance.com can help you learn more about them.

When you first enroll in Medicare at the age of 65 or upon diagnosis of certain disabilities, you will become eligible for something called a Welcome to Medicare visit, an initial preventative physical exam that you can complete within 12 months of starting Medicare. 

A Welcome to Medicare visit is a great resource to have when you first enroll in Medicare, which is why it is somewhat surprising that only 12.6 percent of new Medicare beneficiaries utilized this service in 2016.

Learn more about the Welcome to Medicare visit, what it entails, and how it may be beneficial to you right here courtesy of MedicareInsurance.com.

What happens during a Welcome to Medicare visit?

During a Welcome to Medicare visit, your doctor will review your medical history and help you get access to a variety of preventative healthcare services which become especially important as you age.

A review of your medical and social history.

Before your initial preventive physical exam, your doctor will review key factors that may play an important role in your healthcare going forward. These factors typically include previous illnesses, medical conditions, prior surgeries, family disease history, the medications and supplements you take, and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and alcohol/tobacco use.

A basic physical exam.

Your Welcome to Medicare visit will also include a basic physical exam. During the exam your doctor will record your height and weight, your body mass index, your blood pressure, and also perform a simple vision test.

A review of your safety and risk factors.

During this visit, your doctor may also use questionnaires and other screening tools to identify any potential issues with hearing, fall risk, home safety, and risk of depression.

Additional education about your healthcare needs.

After your doctor has finalized all the parts of your Welcome to Medicare visit, they will be able to provide you with proper advice on a variety of healthcare topics that may pertain to you, including recommended health screenings, vaccines, specialist referral, and living will concerns.

Health visitor and a senior woman during home visit. A nurse or a doctor examining a woman. Close up.

What pays for a Welcome to Medicare Visit?

Welcome to Medicare requirements state that this visit is covered under Original Medicare Part B, so long as your doctor accepts Medicare. For this type of visit, the Part B deductible does not apply, and you will pay no out-of-pocket expenses (coinsurance, copays, etc.) unless you are provided with additional services that are not covered under the Welcome to Medicare guidelines, such as lab tests or additional health screenings.

Following your initial visit, there is a chance that your medical provider may recommend you to receive care more frequently than Medicare covers. In this scenario, you may be responsible for paying some or all of the costs. Always be sure to ask questions and get clear answers about the care or treatment you receive so that you fully understand what may and may not be covered.

What other preventative health services does Medicare cover?

As stated, preventative care is vital to your healthcare needs, especially as you age. The Welcome to Medicare visit is just one way that you can ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of care and attention you need. In fact, there are several additional services and treatments that may be covered by your Medicare plan.

A few important healthcare screenings that are typically covered by Medicare include, but are not limited to:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Vaginal Cancer

Through Medicare, you may also be covered for various additional services such as alcohol misuse counseling, nutrition therapy, tobacco use counseling, diabetes management training, and much more.

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