A Medicare Costly Mistake - Knowing the Difference Between a Wellness Check and an Annual Physical

May 13, 2019
Differece between wellness and annual

Under the Affordable Care Act, Maryland Medicare beneficiaries receive a free annual wellness visit. This is not to be confused with an annual physical. The difference between the two can be extremely costly.

For your annual wellness visit, you will likely be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant (PA) and he or she will do the following:

  • Assist in filling out a health risk assessment
  • Update your medical history
  • Verify your prescriptions
  • Obtain your current height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Screen for cognitive issues, and
  • Provide you with a flu shot.

You do not have to pay a deductible for this visit. Where the confusion lies is when you mistakenly request an annual physical rather than the annual wellness visit. At a physical, you typically see the doctor and it will include checking vital signs, urine and blood work.  You will pay a co-pay and any deductibles associated with this visit.

To avoid receiving a bill for your annual checkup, make sure you use the correct wording and refer to it as an annual wellness check. Look over your Medicare plan carefully as some Medicare Advantage plans offer a free annual physical as well.

For more information on Elder Law services in the Greater Baltimore area, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599.

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