The “Welcome to Medicare” preventive care visit is an optional one-time appointment covered by Medicare in the first 12 months that you have Medicare Part B. The goal of this visit is for your provider to assess your health and prepare a plan for future care. While it is an optional appointment, the “Welcome to Medicare” visit is a great way to get up-to-date on important screenings, create a baseline for monitoring your health, and receive tips from your doctor on how to stay healthy.
Here’s how to navigate your “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit.
When am I eligible for my “Welcome to Medicare” visit?
You’re eligible for a “Welcome to Medicare” visit as soon as you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. The visit is available whether you enroll in Original Medicare or in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare only covers the visit if it is within the first 12 months from when you enroll in Medicare Part B, so it’s important to schedule your visit within that period of time.
What services does “Welcome to Medicare” include?
The “Welcome to Medicare” visit is not a physical, but includes a review of your medical and social history, including:
- Screenings, flu and pneumococcal shots, and referrals for other care, if needed.
- Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements.
- A calculation of your body mass index.
- A simple vision test.
- A review of your potential risk for depression and your level of safety.
- An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives.
- A written plan letting you know which screenings, shots, and other preventive services you need.1
How to Prepare for Your “Welcome to Medicare” Visit
To prepare for your visit, you’ll want to gather the following information:
- Medical records
- Immunizations records
- List of prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter drugs and supplements
- Family health history
- Any other health information that may be valuable to your doctor
While each visit varies, prepare to spend 30 minutes to an hour at your visit. Your doctor may also order additional tests or screenings while you’re there.
What is the purpose of my “Welcome to Medicare” visit?
Your “Welcome to Medicare” visit is often a Medicare benefit that is overlooked, but it’s a great opportunity to discuss your health status with your doctor and catch up on all of your preventive screenings. While it is optional, it’s a covered visit with your doctor who can help you create a care plan and give you advice and recommendations for improving your health.
Will my “Welcome to Medicare” visit cost anything?
Your “Welcome to Medicare” visit will cost nothing if it occurs within the first 12 months you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B and your doctor or health care provider accepts the assignment. You may, however, have to pay coinsurance and the Part B deductible if your doctor performs additional tests or services during the visit and the preventative benefits don’t cover these additional tests or services.
What to Do if Your “Welcome to Medicare” Eligibility Time Range Has Passed
If 12 months have passed since you enrolled in Medicare Part B, you’ll no longer be eligible for the “Welcome to Medicare” visit. Fortunately, Medicare covers an Annual Wellness Visit each year, which is similar to the “Welcome” visit. The Annual Wellness Visit is another opportunity to meet with your doctor and update your personalized wellness and prevention plan. This visit is also free of cost unless your doctor orders additional tests and services that aren’t covered under your preventative benefits.
Make Your “Welcome to Medicare” Visit Easy With SelectQuote
It can be hard to keep track of all of the benefits available to Medicare beneficiaries. At SelectQuote, we make understanding the ins and outs of Medicare easy. Our licensed insurance agents are here to answer any questions you have, connect you to the resources you need and make sure you have access to all of the benefits available to you.