Understanding Your Preventive Care and Services with Medicare

doctor talking to elderly patient

Preventive care services are the tests and measurements that keep you from getting an illness. Preventive care is important because it can help your doctor find – and therefore treat – an illness while it’s still in the early stages.

Your Welcome to Medicare Visit

When you are first eligible for Medicare, you should schedule your Welcome to Medicare visit with your doctor. The purpose of this visit is to set realistic goals for your health. At this visit, your doctor will:

  • Talk with you about your medical history
  • Review all your medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription (take your bottles with you)
  • Check your height, weight and blood pressure
  • Give you a sample vision test
  • Talk with you about your specific health risks
  • Order any tests or screenings that you need
  • Discuss advance care planning – for when you may become sick and unable to speak for yourself

Annual Wellness Visit

This visit is a two-way conversation between you and your doctor to update your medical history and discuss any changes that may have happened to you in the past year. You will be asked questions about your mood, how well you get around, what medications you are taking, and other concerns.

Usually, an Annual Physical Exam is not part of the Annual Wellness Visit, but your doctor may choose to add an annual physical exam to collect more information. 

NOTE: As part of Virginia Premier’s Advantage Gold (HMO), Advantage Platinum (HMO) and Advantage Elite (HMO SMP) plans, the Welcome to Medicare and the Annual Wellness Visits with your doctor are covered at no charge to you. If the doctor does combine other care, testing, and treatment at the same visit, those portions of the visit may have a co-payment. There is a time span of 12 months between your Welcome to Medicare preventive visit and your first Annual Wellness Visit. If you have any questions about scheduling these appointments, please contact the Virginia Premier Member Services department at 1-877-739-1370

And don’t forget the other free preventive services that are part of Virginia Premier’s Advantage Gold (HMO), Advantage Platinum (HMO) and Advantage Elite (HMO SMP) plans:

  • Annual flu shot in the fall or winter
  • Pneumonia vaccine
  • Breast cancer screening for women every 12 months (for women aged 40 and older)
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer screening, covered once every 24 months
  • Prostate cancer screening (for men aged 50 and older)
  • Colorectal cancer screening (for people aged 50 and older)
  • Diabetes screening if you have certain risk factors
  • Alcohol use screening
  • Depression screening, once per year
  • Bone mass measurement

Learn more about annual wellness visits at Medicare.gov >

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