Getting Medicare is a big step. Once you reach the age of 65 and are eligible to receive Medicare, you have several things to do. You can apply for Medicare and begin receiving benefits.
There is also a “Welcome to Medicare Physical” that many seniors choose to receive. But what exactly is the Welcome to Medicare Physical, and what does it achieve? According to experts, this is a one-time preventative doctor visit that you can attend when you start receiving Medicare.
The goal of this visit is to help you obtain good health and to help curb the development of disease. You should get this physical within the first 12 months after you enroll in Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B covers outpatient services and doctor visits. Since this is a preventative visit, your doctor will likely run several tests. He or she will likely check your weight, height, your vision, and your Body Mass Index or BMI.
He or she will also analyze your social and medical histories and will assess your likelihood of developing certain conditions. Your doctor will assess your risk of developing mental health conditions, like depression and other psychological disorders. Your doctor will also assess your ability to live independently at home and in the outside world.
If your doctor deems it necessary, he or she may provide counseling, education, or referrals associated with your health needs and other risk factors for disease. Additionally, your doctor may create a plan or a list of other preventative services you may need. The Welcome to Medicare Physical is independent of your yearly physical.
Your doctor may feel that you require extra care from other practitioners. By providing you with a checklist, you can figure out what other types of health care you need. In addition to helping determine your health needs for the future, this visit allows you to figure out what you need for future care.
Health needs change as people age, and this visit is a good way to get the care you need to stay healthy for many years. The Welcome to Medicare Physical is completely covered by Medicare, and you pay nothing for it. Because of this, you don’t have to pay coinsurance or a deductible.
You simply need to see a doctor who is in the Medicare network and is overseeing you, because you have risk factors or symptoms of conditions that cause harm to your health as you age. However, Medicare might charge you for any care or diagnostic tests you receive.
You don’t have to pay anything for your visit if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. You also don’t have to worry about paying a Part B deductible. However, you may be required to pay coinsurance. Additionally, you may also be responsible for paying your Part B deductible if your doctor performs other tests or provides extra services. In some cases, Medicare may not pay 100% for these tests, leaving you responsible for the outstanding balance. If you have a condition or risk factors for a condition, your doctor may request that you get extra tests that are not covered fully by Medicare.
In this case, you will have to pay at least some of the costs. It may be helpful to ask your doctor about the tests and their costs to figure out how much money you are going to owe when you receive a bill. You may also want to ask how much Medicare will pay for these tests, if they are partially covered.
Your doctor will look at your social history as it relates to your health. Preventative services may be administered on this visit. As mentioned earlier, your doctor will perform a vision test and may want to discuss preparing advance directives to determine who you want to speak for you and make decisions, should you be sick or unable to speak for yourself.
Your doctor may also prepare a written plan detailing shots, screenings, and preventative care that helps you stay well. When you call your doctor, explain that you want to get your “Welcome to Medicare Physical.” It is important to bring several things to this visit. You will need to bring your medical records and immunization records.
It may also be beneficial to tell your doctor about your family health history. You may also bring a list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take. You should also bring a list of supplements you take and when you take them. Your doctor will also want to know the reasons you take these medications.
For those who take opioid prescriptions, your doctor may examine your risk for abuse and your extent of pain with your current treatment regimen. Your doctor may decide to explore non-opioid treatments. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who can help you.
Your doctor may also examine your risk for a substance abuse disorder. He or she may “assess” your risk for dependence on substances, such as tobacco and alcohol. If your doctor sees a need, he or she may refer you to a substance treatment specialist, should there be a need for it.
The Welcome to Medicare Physical is not a requirement, but it is a good idea for those who want to maintain good health in the long-term. During your Welcome to Medicare Physical, your doctor will check your blood pressure and may identify risk factors that could lead to illness.
Your doctor may also advise you to create a living will to declare the person you want to make decisions if you are unable to make them on your own. A living will specify your medical choices and gives someone else the ability to make decisions if you are facing the end of your life.
Your Welcome to Medicare Physical may require some preparation. In addition to bringing a list of your medications, experts recommend making a list of the dosages of all your medications. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan that has a network of providers, you will need to go to a doctor in your plan’s network. Those with PPOs and HMOs typically need to do this. Medicare Part B covers Hepatitis B vaccines, the flu shot, and Pneumococcal vaccines.
It also covers mammograms, colorectal and prostate cancer screenings, diabetes self-management training services, and glaucoma screening. Other preventative care covered by Part B include:
- Bone mass measurements
- Nutritional therapy for those with kidney disease or diabetes
- Diabetes screening
- Cardiovascular screening blood tests
- Pelvic examination
- Pap smear
If your doctor is examining your safety, he or she will check for hearing loss and ask about how safe your home is. This helps determine your risk for falls. After your doctor has collected information about your health, he or she may advise you to get a few health screenings or vaccines.
Your doctor may also write referrals for you to see specialists, if it is necessary. An annual physical is more detailed than a Welcome to Medicare Physical. During this exam, your doctor may examine your neurological health, your abdomen, and your respiratory system.
Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Part C can cover annual physicals. However, what is covered will vary depending on your individual plan. If you have a Plan C, it is a good idea to see what is covered before you go to your physical.
After you’ve been on Medicare Part B for 12 months, your annual physical will be covered in full. You should get these physicals every 12 months. Your annual physical is very much like your Welcome to Medicare physical. It may be a good idea to update your medical history every year to stay on top of your health status and any changes you experience.
Your doctor may perform a cognitive assessment to look for any signs of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Medicare covers screening for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lower respiratory disease. These are the three leading causes of death and a point of concern for many people.
Getting screened for these conditions can help prevent early death and discover chronic conditions before they become a problem. Of course, it helps to know how often you can get certain screenings. According to experts, you can get a pap smear every two years. You can get a mammogram once per year, starting at each 40.
Under Medicare, you can get a diabetes blood test once per year. You may be allowed to get this test twice per year, if you have prediabetes or a predisposition for diabetes. Under Medicare, you can be screened for lung cancer once per year.
Medicare covers other preventative services, including behavioral therapy for cardiovascular disease, alcohol misuse counseling, and nutrition therapy. Nutrition therapy is good for those with kidney disease and diabetes. It is also helpful for those awaiting a kidney transplant. Those who receive alcohol misuse counseling may receive in-person counseling.
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