Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) are yearly preventive visits for Medicare patients to create or update a personalized prevention plan. They are 100% covered when you see an in-network provider and meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements for the service. These appointments consists of three parts:
- Health Risk Assessment (HRA) – a questionnaire about your overall wellbeing
- Vitals – routine measurements, including height, weight & blood pressure
- Consultation – a personalized, multi-year preventative care plan
During a wellness exam, your provider reviews the medical history, medications, and potential risk factors for common preventable health problems such as heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Based on what’s learned, your doctor creates a personal prevention plan and may recommend follow-on screenings, vaccinations, or other tests. Preventative services such as an annual evaluation like these greatly improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.
Wellness Visit vs. Physical
Compared to the wellness visit, annual physicals are more “physically” extensive exams. They are typically performed by a doctor or nurse practitioner. The provider will visually examine your body, feel, palpate, or tap soft-tissue areas, and listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Included are evaluations of your eyes, ears, nose, and throat and a test of your motor function and reflexes. Physicals usually include referrals for routine lab tests and preventative screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, or dermatological exams.