Medicare now covers a “Welcome to Medicare” physical, as part of the “original” Medicare (Parts A & B) benefits. This is a relatively new benefit that is available to everyone that has Medicare A & B. There are few stipulations and guidelines for using this benefit that you should be familiar with which we’ve outlined below.
First and foremost, this benefit expires after you have been on Medicare Part B for 12 months. So in order to use the benefit, you have to schedule (and go to) your “welcome to Medicare” physical within 12 months of going on Part B. The physical is designed to be a review of your current health and provide you with education and counseling about preventive services that you need, such as screenings, shots and referrals for other care (from specialists).
You can do this “Welcome to Medicare” physical at your regular primary care doctor, assuming he or she takes Medicare coverage.
So, what should you expect during the “Welcome to Medicare” exam? During the exam, your doctor will take some of the basic health-related measurements, such as blood pressure, height, weight, vision and BMI. The doctor will check medical records to confirm that you are up to date with any recommended screenings such as cancer screenings, etc. As an offshoot of this physical, the doctor may order additional tests, screenings or preventive procedures.
Your doctor, as part of this physical, should also give you a written plan for your health. This will inform you of other screenings that the doctor recommendations or future action plans for maintaining and/or improving your health. According to Medicare, your doctor will also talk to you about “advance directives”, including end-of-life planning. Advance directives are legal documents that tell your family or loved ones what your wishes are if you are unable to make your own decisions, due to health.
The “Welcome to Medicare” physical is covered by Medicare at 80%. You are responsible for the other 20%, unless of course, you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) that will pay for that other 20%. The plans that will do this include Plan G and Plan F.
To get more information about this or about Medicare Supplement plans, please visit our website or call us at 877.506.3378. You can also get a summary of this information on Medicare’s website at: What is the Welcome to Medicare Physical.