The Welcome to Medicare visit is not the same as a routine physical exam or annual Medicare Wellness visit. The Welcome to Medicare visit is supposed to be an introduction to Medicare and should focus on disease prevention and detection to help you live a healthier life. It is sometimes referred to as the “Initial Preventive Physical Exam”… or IPPE. The Welcome to Medicare visit is a one-time-only visit covered by Medicare Part B. That means that you don’t have to pay a co-pay or coinsurance — there is no additional cost to you. You have twelve months from the date of your initial enrollment into Medicare Part B to complete the visit.
During your Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit, you and your doctor should discuss disease education and prevention. Your doctor should also review your medical and health history, such as:
- Past medical/surgical history, such as illness, hospital stays, operations, allergies, and injuries
- Current medications and supplements, including over-the-counter vitamins
- Depression and safety screening
- Family health history
- History of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use
- Physical activities
The visit will also include:
- Measurements for:
- Blood pressure
- Body mass index
- A simple vision test – (Not normally covered by Medicare)
- A written plan for screenings, shots and other preventive services you may need
- In some cases, a discussion about creating an advanced directive
If diagnostic tests or other services are performed that are not covered by the Welcome to Medicare visit, you may be responsible for co-pays and coinsurance.
You should take the following items with you to your visit: Medical records, including immunization records; a detailed family health history; and a full list of medications and supplements, including vitamins.