Medicare does not cover the cost of the comprehensive annual medical exam that is commonly referred to as a physical.

Medicare does, however, cover:

  • A “Welcome to Medicare” one-time checkup in the first year following your enrollment date in Medicare Part B (medical insurance).
  • A wellness visit every year to develop and update a personal prevention plan.

Your Welcome to Medicare checkup is considered a preventative visit. It is less detailed than an annual physical. It includes a review of your medical history, and, as it relates to your health, your social history. It also includes education and counseling about preventative services.

What to expect

As part of your welcome to Medicare checkup, you should expect the following:

  • routine measurements, such as weight, height, and blood pressure
  • BMI (body mass index) calculation
  • certain screenings
  • shots, if warranted
  • a simple vision test
  • review of risk potential for depression
  • option to talk about advance directives
  • a written schedule of preventive services, such as vaccines (flu, pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, etc.) and screenings (diabetes, HIV, lung cancer, etc.)

How much does the welcome visit cost?

With original Medicare, if your doctor accepts Medicare, this visit should cost you nothing.

Your Part B deductible may apply and you may have to pay coinsurance if additional tests or services that are not covered under the preventative benefits are performed during your welcome visit.

Annual wellness visits are used to assess your current health and risk factors and develop a prevention plan to help prevent disease and disability. They are not comprehensive physical exams. Your wellness visit will typically include a cognitive impairment assessment to see if you are showing any early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. You will also fill out a health risk assessment questionnaire to help in the development of a personalized wellness plan. The questionnaire may include:

  • routine measurements, such as weight, height, and blood pressure
  • review of your medical history and your family’s medical history
  • an update on current health, such as health concerns, providers, and current prescriptions

When completed, your wellness visit update will most likely include:

  • personalized health advice, such as a list of risk factors and treatment options
  • advance care planning, such as a screening schedule of preventative services
  • indication of any cognitive impairment

This visit should cost you nothing.

Your Part B deductible may apply and you may have to pay coinsurance if additional tests or services that are not covered under the preventative benefits are performed during your wellness visit.

Although Medicare does not cover what we tend to call an annual physical, original Medicare does cover:

  • A Welcome to Medicare visit that covers routine measurements, certain screenings and shots, and other preventative actions.
  • Annual wellness visits to help in the development of a personalized wellness plan.

With original Medicare, these visits will not cost you anything unless your doctor performs additional tests or services that are not covered.