There has been much confusion surrounding what Medicare considers a “physical”. Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans will pay for something called a “wellness visit”. This is an important visit and you should take advantage of the fact that it is a covered benefit if you are a Medicare or Medicare Advantage member. This visit is not a physical examination. It does not have to be performed by a physician. It is more of a “talking” appointment. We update your health history and your family history. We make sure we have a current list of any other doctors that you are seeing. We do a brief assessment of your memory and screen for depression. We make sure we have an accurate list of your medications, vitamins and supplements. We ask questions about the safety of your home such as do you have working smoke detectors, have loose rugs on the floor etc. We also discuss any age appropriate screenings that you may be due for.
A “physical” is a complete physical examination. The doctor examines you from head to toe. We actually incorporate much of the content listed above but unfortunately, Medicare does not cover a physical exam. Some Medicare Advantage plans do cover a physical exam. You should consult your own plan to determine if a physical exam is covered. Our physicians feel like it is important for everyone to have a routine physical exam on a regular basis.