The Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) Exam: Understanding Your Coverage

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 towards 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.

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