The Affordable Care Act of 2010 brought new covered services, as well as changes to existing services regarding copayments and deductibles. The addition of the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) exam is meant to help you maintain good health through a yearly visit with your primary care doctor.
Before the AWV exam, the ‘Welcome To Medicare’ exam (also called your Initial Preventive Physical Exam, or IPPE) benefit was available to you during the first twelve months of your Railroad Medicare eligibility. This initial exam established your health baseline from which the doctor could measure changes.
The new Annual Wellness Visit is the next step toward using all the information gathered in your 'Welcome to Medicare' exam. In addition, there is no co-pay, and it is not charged toward your Railroad Medicare deductible.
Your Annual Wellness Visit will:
- Update medical and family history
- Update measurement of height, weight, body-mass index and blood pressure
- Document changes you made in using other health care professionals
- Document changes other health care professionals may have made, like medications
- Look for any cognitive changes or impairments
- Update your screening schedule
- Update the list of risk factors
- Provide health advice based off this AWV information and make referrals if needed
Though it may sound like a routine physical exam, the Annual Wellness Visit isn’t - the AWV is a preventive service. Medicare does not consider a routine physical exam a preventive service.
When you schedule your AWV with your doctor’s office, make sure they document it so Railroad Medicare can pay for this annual benefit.
If you have questions regarding the AWV, please call the Railroad Medicare Beneficiary Contact Center at (800) 833-4455. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.