What to Expect From Your ‘Welcome to Medicare’ Visit

Your Welcome to Medicare visit is a free one-time visit covered under Medicare Advantage. Learn more about how your preventive care plan is made.

A smiling man with gray hair and facial hair sitting at a table next to a smiling woman with dark brown hair sitting at a table going over paperwork with a bald man in a suit.

Preventive care is a key factor in staying healthy. Medicare Advantage plans cover many preventive services, one of which is a Welcome to Medicare visit.

After you enroll in Medicare for the first time, your Welcome to Medicare visit should take place as soon as possible within the first 12 months of coverage. Your primary care doctor will assess the medical and social factors most likely to impact your health, then create a plan for preventive care that is tailored to your specific needs.

What Does a Welcome to Medicare Visit Include?

The Welcome to Medicare visit is a review of your health, followed by counseling on preventive care services you need. This visit is designed to improve your quality of life and catch health issues before they can become severe illnesses or disabilities.

During the visit, your doctor may assess the following, in addition to other care-related concerns:

  • Overview of health screenings you need
  • Vaccination history and schedule
  • Vision test
  • Measuring your height, weight and blood pressure
  • Screening for depression and other mental health issues
  • Counseling about your alcohol and tobacco intake
  • Your home life, family and social and community relationships
  • Optional discussion of advance directives
  • Referrals for other preventive care as needed

After the assessment, your doctor will create a personalized preventive care plan for you with recommended health screenings, shots, exams and additional counseling and therapies as needed.

What Preventive Care Does Medicare Cover?

Original Medicare covers a variety of preventive care and screenings such as: 

  • Vaccinations for the flu, COVID-19, hepatitis B and pneumococcal diseases
  • Diabetes screening and management
  • Mammograms
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Cardiovascular disease screening and behavioral therapy
  • Smoking cessation counseling

Our Medicare Advantage plans include the same preventive visits covered under Original Medicare in addition to services that are not covered. 

Preventive care covered by many Medicare Advantage plans—like Baylor Scott & White Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage HMO-POS—but not covered under Original Medicare includes fitness programs and gym memberships, annual physicals, cognitive health assessments, diabetes education and more. 

What Does a Welcome to Medicare Visit Cost?

Your Welcome to Medicare visit is covered under Original Medicare and most Medicare Advantage   plans. There is zero out-of-pocket cost for this visit. However, if you opt to have additional services or tests on the day of your visit, they may or may not have additional costs depending on your coverage level. 

When to Schedule Your Welcome to Medicare Visit

Your Welcome to Medicare visit must be scheduled within the first 12 months of your coverage.

You can schedule this visit whenever you want during this period, with any doctor that accepts Medicare. IMPORTANT: When making the appointment, you need to specify that it is your Welcome to Medicare visit and not a routine physical exam.

It’s best to arrange your Welcome to Medicare preventive visit as early as possible once your coverage starts. This way, you can fully benefit from the preventive healthcare services that your doctor recommends.

How to Prepare For Your Welcome to Medicare Visit

After scheduling your Welcome to Medicare visit, you should prepare the following information:

  • A list of all medical procedures and your known health issues
  • Family medical history that you have knowledge of
  • List of medications, vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter drugs you regularly take, along with the amount, how often you take them and the purpose

To get the most out of your visit, you should also prepare a list of questions for your doctor regarding health concerns you have. If you need referrals for specialists or want additional information on managing existing conditions or conditions you are at risk for, you should also discuss them with your doctor.

If you are interested in setting up an advance directive, which is when you name another person to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot, your doctor can also discuss this with you during your Welcome to Medicare visit and refer you to resources for navigating this process.

What’s the Difference Between the Welcome to Medicare Visit and the Annual Wellness Visit?

The Welcome to Medicare visit often gets confused with the Medicare Annual Wellness visit. 

Welcome to Medicare is strictly a one-time appointment during the first year you are covered by Medicare, while the Medicare Annual Wellness visit takes place every year, as the name implies. Like Welcome to Medicare, the Annual Wellness Visit includes an assessment by your primary care doctor followed by a preventive care plan tailored to your needs. 

Your Welcome to Medicare visit creates the roadmap for your future Annual Wellness Visits, so it’s crucial to schedule Welcome to Medicare as early as possible to get the benefits of your personalized preventive care plan.

For more information on what to expect from your Welcome to Medicare visit, or to learn more about Baylor Scott & White Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage coverage, call 1.800.782.5068 (TTY: 711). 

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Contact us any time and a Baylor Scott & White Health Plan licensed insurance agent can answer any questions you have about Medicare.