| You can get one free Welcome to Medicare checkup anytime during the first 12 months after you enroll in Medicare Part B, which is the part of Medicare that covers doctor visits and outpatient services. This checkup is not a comprehensive physical exam but is an opportunity for your doctor to assess your health and provide a plan of future care.
The Welcome to Medicare checkup is optional, but it serves as a baseline for monitoring your health during the annual wellness visits that Medicare will pay for in subsequent years. You do not need this checkup to qualify for later annual wellness visits, but Medicare won’t pay for a wellness visit during your first 12 months in Part B.
What happens at the Welcome to Medicare checkup?
During the exam you can expect your doctor to do the following:
- Record your vital information, including blood pressure, height and weight.
- Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Review your health history — your own and that of your family.
- Determine your ability to function independently and your level of safety, such as how well you perform activities of daily living and your risk of falls.
- Assess your potential for depression.
- Check for risk factors that could indicate future serious illnesses.
- Provide a simple vision test.
- Recommend screenings, shots and other preventive services in writing that you may need to stay healthy. Many of these, such as mammograms and vaccinations, may be free under Medicare.
- Offer to talk about advance directives. A health care proxy lets you designate someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t, and a living will specifies your preferences for medical treatment at the end of your life.
How can I prepare for my Welcome to Medicare visit?
To make the most of this appointment, you should gather the following information and records in advance:
- Your family medical history Learn as much as you can about your blood relatives’ health history. Any information you can give your doctor can help determine if you are at risk for inherited diseases.
- Your personal medical records That includes providing immunization records if you’re seeing a new doctor.
- Your prescription medications Along with listing the names of your drugs, include dosage, how often you take each medication and why.
How much will I pay for a Welcome to Medicare checkup?
You’ll have no deductible or copayment for the Welcome to Medicare checkup if you meet the following conditions:
If you’re enrolled in original Medicare, you need to go to a doctor who accepts “assignment,” meaning that the physician accepts the Medicare-approved amount as full compensation.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that has a provider network, such as an HMO or PPO, you may need to go to a doctor in the plan’s provider network.
Keep in mind
Even though you won’t have to pay for this checkup, the doctor could order other tests or procedures for which you may have to cover deductibles and copayments out of pocket.
Updated June 22, 2022