As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare now covers – at no cost to beneficiaries – an annual wellness exam with a primary care provider.
This wellness exam is different than a physical. In fact, a physical exam is not covered during a wellness exam.
The wellness exam is designed to provide the patient, the health care team, and the family an opportunity to develop a preventative care plan to address the issues acute care and physical visits may miss.
Developing a plan of care based on cognitive and depression screening, fall assessment, and other individualized, age-appropriate screening tests is essential to ensuring a high quality of life for elderly patients, particularly those with complex or chronic health care needs.
According to research by the J. Hartford Foundation Poll only 17% of seniors receive the benefit, and fewer than half even knew about the program.
Dianne Conrad, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
As a nurse practitioner and primary care provider, the Medicare Wellness Visit provides Medicare recipients the opportunity to prevent or identify early, debilitating complications such as falls, depression and cognitive problems such as dementia.
This benefit of the ACA is an important benefit that Medicare recipients can take advantage of on a yearly basis, free of charge from their primary care provider.