Most of us are familiar with annual physicals, but did you know that Medicare covers preventive visits differently. Within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B, you are entitled to a free preventive visit that includes:

  • A review of your medical and social history
  • Education and counseling about preventive services
  • Height, weight and blood pressure measurements
  • A calculation of your body mass index
  • A simple vision test
  • A review of your potential risk for depression and your level of safety
  • An offer to talk with you about creating advance directives
  • A written plan letting you know which screenings, shots and other preventive services you need

The "Welcome to Medicare" preventive visit could uncover health issues you were unaware of that require timely treatment.

People on Medicare are also eligible for a free annual wellness visit. These exams are critical to keeping your medical information up to date, helping you stay healthy, and creating or updating a plan of action to address health issues.

Both the Welcome to Medicare one-time visit and your annual wellness visit (covered once every 12 months) are free. You will not pay for these visits, unless you receive additional services. Take advantage of these important benefits and schedule your visit today.

If you have questions or want more information about Medicare's wellness exams, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433. The Senior LinkAge Line is a free, statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging in partnership with Minnesota’s Area Agencies on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line is Minnesota’s federally designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program and the place to call for questions and information on Medicare and more.

Robin Thompson is information and assistance director with Senior LinkAge Line and Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.