Confusion regarding the difference between a Physical Exam and a Medicare Wellness Visit is quite common and usually is determined by your doctor as they focus on what’s wrong versus what’s right. Both of them are important and which one you need depends on the circumstances.
For Example – When you’re sick or in pain and are seeking treatment, a physical exam helps your doctor identify what the problem is and what can help you get cured. However, when you’re not sick and feel good and want to stay that way a wellness exam is required. It helps your doctor understand what is working for you and how to best support your health and well-being.
In order for the doctor to identify what’s working for you or what is causing a problem, a series of tasks are required in both, the physical exam and the wellness visit.
What’s Included In A Physical Exam?
A physical examination is an assessment of your body’s health and the primary purpose of a physical exam is to identify health problems.
Based on the results of your body’s assessment, your doctor can identify what the causes of your health concerns are or what factors can lead to possible health problems for you.
A physical exam includes:-
Visually check your body overall for signs of existing health issues
Look into your eyes, ears, nose and throat for potential problems
Listen to your heart and lungs to detect irregular sounds
Touch parts of your body to feel for abnormalities
Test your motor function and reflexes
Perform pelvic and rectal exams
Measure your height, weight and blood pressure
It’s important to note that Medicare does not cover your annual physical exam nor the tests that your doctor orders.
What’s Included In A Medicare Wellness Visit?
A Medicare Wellness Visit, also referred to as a wellness exam is an assessment of your body’s overall health and wellness and serves the purpose of prevention.
A wellness exam helps your doctor compare your results with your medical history and assess your risk of common preventable health problems.
A wellness exam includes:-
Review of your health risk assessment
Confirming medical and family history
Record your current prescriptions and providers
Measure and document your height, weight, and blood pressure
Look for signs of memory loss, dementia, or frailty
Document your health risk factors and treatment options
Provide personalized health advice
Unlike a physical exam, a wellness exam is covered by Medicare Part B. Many preventive screenings are also covered with no co-payments or deductibles.
Many individuals skip or avoid physical exams simply because of over-testing, potentially false positive results and unnecessary costs. While you have the option to choose whether or not you want an annual physical exam and wellness visit it’s critically important to your health that you make the right decision.
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