What is an Annual Wellness Exam and Why Do You Need One?

Most people don't realize that their insurance covers an Annual Wellness Exam, and so a lot of people don't visit their primary care provider yearly as they should. But getting an Annual Wellness Exam is a really important part of keeping yourself healthy and maintaining a solid relationship with your provider. What is an Annual Wellness Exam? A wellness exam is a type of preventative care. Preventative healthcare focuses on maintaining wellness and catches any health issues that may arise early. Instead of waiting until a person has a health problem, the patient visits their physician to make sure that they’re still in good health or to catch health problems in their early stages.

Wellness visits or wellness exams take place every year and are separate from other medical appointments related to illness or injury.

While wellness exams are usually covered by insurance, your insurance might not cover all expenses involved with the visit, such as labs or tests that your provider orders. Insurance plans and coverage vary, so be sure to check with your policy so you aren't surprised by additional charges.

What is included in an Annual Wellness Exam? When you first meet with your provider, they will ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a "Health Risk Assessment" that examines your current health status and physical functioning. This assessment also goes over:

  • Psychosocial risks (depression, life satisfaction, pain, anger, loneliness or social isolation, stress, and fatigue)

  • Behavioral risks (tobacco use, nutrition, sexual health, physical activity, oral health, alcohol consumption, motor vehicle safety, and home safety)

  • Activities of daily living (abilities of dressing, feeding, toileting, bathing, grooming, balance, and your risk of falls)

After reviewing this assessment carefully, your primary care provider will provide a variety of other services and talk to you about preventable health diseases.