Wellness visits or wellness exams are typically annual, and are separate from other medical visits related to illness or injury. While wellness exams are usually covered by insurance, your insurance might not cover all expenses involved, especially if you have chronic medical problems and take medications regularly.
The goals of an Annual Wellness Visit, or sometimes called annual physical, are to create a complete personal and family health history and it is to help prevent future health problems such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and elevated cholesterol. It also is a time when you and your doctor review your existing health problems; determine what health issues may become a concern in the future and how to prevent them. This yearly visit also helps maintain a relationship with your provider in case illness or injury arises.
During this wellness screening your doctor will review your medications (including over the counter vitamins and supplements), immunizations (such as tdap, pneumonia vaccine, shingles vaccine, flu vaccine, etc) and preventative screenings (such as mammogram, colonoscopy, bone density, PAP smear, prostate, EKG, echocardiograms, AAA, etc). They will also review surgical history, depression, tobacco, alcohol and advanced directives. In the case some concerns arise during this assessment your doctor may recommend other labs/tests to be performed. These screenings will be performed during a separate visit and sometimes a follow up visit will be scheduled to go over all results. It is also helpful to have a list of other healthcare providers you see including, specialists, dentist, therapists and/or home health agencies.
The annual wellness visit gives you and your doctor a complete picture of your health and what you need to do to be healthier. So, schedule your Annual Wellness Visit, have a great conversation with your doctor and stay healthy!