The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit
27 Apr, 2023

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit focuses on health promotion and preventative treatment. It enables you and your provider to develop a personalized preventive strategy that can assist you in staying healthy and avoiding accidents, illness, and disease.

This appointment also provides an opportunity to address various conditions that may impair your quality of life, such as depression, memory loss, and dementia.

The Annual Wellness Visit is only for preventive care, not for illness diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, you must plan a separate visit with your doctor if you wish to discuss a specific health issue.

What is the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV)?

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is an important preventative practice that can help you stay healthy. Unlike a typical physical exam, the AWV allows you and your healthcare practitioner to explore ways to prevent disease and improve your overall health. Medicare provides two types of preventative care visits:

  • The Welcome to Medicare Visit: This one-time appointment promotes general health and illness prevention and is funded by Medicare Part B for the first 12 months after membership for those registered in Medicare Part B for more than 12 months.
  • Annual Wellness Visit: The Annual Wellness Visit is accessible every year and includes screenings, testing, and immunizations. The good news is, if you are on a MedPRO Medicare Advantage Plan, you do not have to wait 12 months for your Annual Wellness Visit. You can complete it at any time during each year.

Eligibility and Criteria

1. Who is eligible for a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit?

To be eligible for an Annual Wellness Visit, you must have been receiving Medicare Part B benefits for at least one year and have not had an initial preventive physical exam or a previous Wellness Visit during the preceding year.

2. Are Medicare Annual Wellness Visits free?

Yes, Medicare Part B fully covers annual wellness visits, which means you pay nothing if you visit a healthcare physician who accepts Medicare assignment.

3. How frequently can you have a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit?

You are only allowed one Medicare Annual Wellness Visit per calendar year.

What exactly happens during a visit?

  • During your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, you will complete a Health Risk Assessment form to help your provider understand your health and risk factors.
  • The appointment involves measurements, a medical and family history review, developing a health screening regimen, and conversations about functional capacity, safety, and advanced care planning.
  • You will also receive personalized health advice and referrals for lifestyle modifications.
  • A cognitive assessment will be performed to screen for dementia and other diseases, and if you are using opioids, your provider will discuss the risks and reassess your treatment strategy.

What's the difference between a Medicare Wellness Visit and a physical exam?

Medicare Wellness Visits focus on maintaining current health and preventing future problems and don't include a physical exam or diagnosis of illness. Physical exams aim to identify health issues.

Who is qualified to perform the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit?

This visit can be performed by a variety of Medicare-approved healthcare professionals, including a doctor, a nurse practitioner (NP), a physician assistant (PA), a clinical nurse specialist, a registered dietitian, and a health educator.

You might wish to schedule your Medicare Wellness Visit with your primary care doctor or another provider in their office. They are the most familiar with you and will be able to track any changes in your health over time.

How to Prepare for a Medicare Wellness Visit?

  • Bring the names of all the doctors you see
  • Bring a list of all your medications
  • Have you had any tests done in the past year that this doctor is unaware of? If yes, bring that information
  • Have you had any recent immunizations this doctor is unaware of? If yes, bring that information
  • Do you have a living will or advance directive? If yes, bring a copy


In conclusion, the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is an important part of preventive healthcare for older adults. While it may share some similarities with a routine physical exam, the AWV is a separate and distinct type of visit with its own specific goals and requirements.

Patients and healthcare providers alike must understand the components of the AWV and how to prepare for it properly. By following the guidelines for preparing for the AWV, patients can receive a more comprehensive evaluation of their health and well-being. In addition, healthcare providers can help them maintain their current health and prevent problems down the road.

As a MedPRO member, our physicians can help you take the essential actions to improve your health. Our physicians are dedicated to providing high-quality, easily accessible health care and can help you navigate the system. For additional information, please contact us at 866-423-0060 or visit our website at www.cvmedpro.com