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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.

That means that they will:

  • Review your family medical history and your own medical history

  • Work with you to develop or update a list of your current providers and prescriptions

  • Take routine measurements such as weight, height, and blood pressure

  • Check for any cognitive impairment

  • Discuss screenings, vaccinations, and other preventive services available to you

  • They may also offer advance care planning, which refers to planning for care you would receive if you were to become unable to speak for yourself

What should you bring to an Annual Wellness Exam?

To prepare for your Annual Wellness Exams, but sure to:

  • Write down or bring along any medications you are currently taking (remember this includes prescriptions, non-prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, and herbal medications)

  • Compile a list of all the healthcare providers you see, including their full names, addresses, phone numbers, and specialty so your provider knows what they are treating you for

  • Type up or write down family history beforehand, especially if you might leave something off that could prove to be important

  • Jot down any health-related questions or concerns in advance. You can give the paper directly to your provider or you can read the questions to them aloud.

  • Bring a notebook or notepad with you to copy down important information and advice from your provider

Remember, your Annual Wellness Exam is usually covered by your insurance company at no cost to you, so take advantage of this and make an appointment with your primary care provider today! If you don't have a primary care provider or are looking for a new primary care provider, Medical Center Barbour offers primary care services through our MCB Family Care Clinics! We have three clinic locations- Eufaula, Hurtsboro, and Louisville- so that you can get excellent health care closer to home!


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