A Medicare Costly Mistake – Knowing the Difference Between a Wellness Check and an Annual Physical

Published On: 05/13/2019

Differece between wellness and annualUnder the Affordable Care Act, Maryland Medicare beneficiaries receive a free annual wellness visit. This is not to be confused with an annual physical. The difference between the two can be extremely costly.

For your annual wellness visit, you will likely be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant (PA) and he or she will do the following:

  • Assist in filling out a health risk assessment
  • Update your medical history
  • Verify your prescriptions
  • Obtain your current height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Screen for cognitive issues, and
  • Provide you with a flu shot.

You do not have to pay a deductible for this visit. Where the confusion lies is when you mistakenly request an annual physical rather than the annual wellness visit. At a physical, you typically see the doctor and it will include checking vital signs, urine and blood work.  You will pay a co-pay and any deductibles associated with this visit.

To avoid receiving a bill for your annual checkup, make sure you use the correct wording and refer to it as an annual wellness check. Look over your Medicare plan carefully as some Medicare Advantage plans offer a free annual physical as well.

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Post Author

Britt Stouffer

Britt L. Stouffer is a Maryland attorney experienced in Estates, Trusts, and Elder Law. With over 10 years of experience in Estates and Trusts, she has learned to appreciate how unique each client truly is. On a typical day, you will find her working on Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Tax Planning cases, Estate Administration filings, Petitions for Guardianships, Special Needs Planning, and Asset Protection.

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