Blue Cross Blue Shield Annual Wellness Visit
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare plans will cover your Medicare annual wellness visit. Learn more about BCBS Medicare Advantage plans, the benefits they can offer and how you can enroll.
Medicare Advantage plans like the ones offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem) cover a yearly health checkup called the Medicare annual wellness visit.
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans are sold by private insurance companies but are required by law to cover everything covered by federally funded and administered Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B). One of those required benefits is the annual wellness visit.
In this Medicare plan review, we explain what the annual wellness visit includes and how it’s different from a routine physical. Blue Cross and Blue Shield is part of the Anthem family of brands, and depending on where you live, you may be able to apply for a Medicare plan from BCBS or an Anthem affiliated brand.
What Does the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit Cover?
The annual wellness visit is different from a routine physical because it does not include any physical examination except for some basic height, weight and blood pressure measurements, along with possibly a vision test.
Here are a few important things to know about your Medicare annual wellness visit:
- The focus of the annual wellness visit is preventive care, and your appointment will likely begin with a questionnaire about your own health history and that of your blood relatives so your doctor can determine if you might be at an increased risk for any particular diseases or conditions.
- You may be asked to undergo a cognitive impairment assessment to check for any early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. You doctor will also screen for depression and other mood disorders.
- Your doctor may wish to develop or update a list of health care providers you have recently seen or are currently seeing and discuss your likes and dislikes when choosing a provider. This information can be useful to your doctor if they issue any referrals to specialists or other providers in the future.
- You might also be asked about any medications you are currently taking or have recently taken so help your doctor make informed decisions when prescribing any future medications.
- You can expect your annual wellness visit to include a discussion about your diet and lifestyle, and your doctor may make some recommendations based on your current health. Your doctor may also discuss with you any health risks you could face, along with your treatment options and a list of recommended shots and vaccines.
- You should expect to leave your annual wellness visit with a personalized health plan to apply going forward. Your doctor may order tests or other procedures in response to the information gathered during the appointment.
As the name implies, the annual wellness visit is something that a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plan will cover every year to help you and your doctor monitor your health and update your information.
How Much Does a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Yearly Wellness Visit Cost?
Medicare Part B covers the annual wellness visit in full, meaning beneficiaries are not responsible for any deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for the visit.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover the annual wellness visit and other preventive care in full. Check with your Blue Cross Blue Shield plan to find out if there are any costs associated with the annual wellness visit.
What Is the Welcome to Medicare Visit?
The annual wellness visit should not be confused with the Welcome to Medicare visit. The Welcome to Medicare visit is an appointment that all new Medicare Part B enrollees are eligible to undergo within the first 12 months of enrollment.
The Welcome to Medicare visit is similar in nature to the annual wellness visit and includes many of the same services. Like the annual wellness visit, the Welcome to Medicare visit is not a physical examination although this visit may include certain screenings and shots.
The goal of the Welcome to Medicare visit is to provide your doctor with a baseline of your health that is then followed up on every year with the annual wellness visit.
Some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for a traditional physical exam, so check with your Blue Cross Blue Shield plan to see if that’s an included benefit with your coverage.
Enrolling in a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan
If you’re not already enrolled in a Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plan, you can work with a licensed insurance agent to see if there’s one available where you live. You must be at least 65 years old to enroll in most plans and must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. There are only certain times of the year in which you may enroll.
A licensed insurance agent can determine your eligibility, help review your coverage options and guide you through the enrollment process.