Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
weather sponsored by
Hickory Estates of Taylorville

Advanced Search
search sponsored by


home : columns : ask the doctors February 24, 2018

1/19/2018 9:16:00 AM
What medicare recipients can expect at 'preventive care' checkup

DEAR DOCTOR: I am a senior citizen on Medicare. I don't have a "regular" doctor, but rather, I go to a clinic when I have a problem. What is covered in the annual Medicare physical? What should I, as a patient, know and do?

DEAR READER: Let's face it -- health insurance can be complicated and confusing, and Medicare is no different. We hope we can offer a bit of clarity regarding Medicare's annual physical exams, the details of which often leave our own senior patients with plenty of questions.

In the 12 months after you enroll in Medicare Part B, you're eligible for something known as a "preventive care" visit. During this appointment, you'll tell your doctor your personal medical history as well as your family history. She or he will record your height, weight and blood pressure, and will calculate your BMI, or body mass index. You'll get a vision test, and you'll be evaluated for risk of depression and any other potential safety issues.  

Certain screening tests and vaccinations may be ordered at this time. Because details vary depending on each specific case, be sure to ask your doctor whether additional costs will be incurred. You may have to pay coinsurance, and the Medicare Part B deductible may apply.

During this initial visit, you'll also have a chance to discuss advanced health directives, sometimes known as a living will. You will receive a written plan that details a future schedule of screenings, vaccines and any other preventive services your medical history has indicated may be necessary.

Each subsequent year, Medicare entitles you to an annual physical evaluation that is less comprehensive than what we think of as a full physical. Known as a yearly wellness exam, it focuses on what a physician can see, hear and feel during an exam, such as heart rate, blood pressure, weight, BMI, heart and lung sounds and visible symptoms. However, the wellness exam does not include blood tests like complete blood count, kidney, liver and thyroid function, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, or a check of vitamin D levels, which we include in annual physical exams in our practices. These can be ordered, but depending on the test, there can be additional costs.  

To get the most out of any physical exam, we recommend that patients bring the following:

-- Complete medical records, including immunization records, results of recent screening tests and information on any surgeries.

-- A list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking, including dosage, history of use and any side effects you may have experienced.

-- Comprehensive medical family history, including diseases like cancer, asthma, diabetes, memory disorders or dementia.

This last part is important because if your doctor determines that you are at particular risk of a certain disease or condition, you may be eligible for additional screenings and more frequent screenings. However, this typically requires a referral.

Lastly, we would encourage you to find and build a relationship with a primary care physician. This will give you a medical "home base," a doctor who knows you and your medical needs, as well as a partner in your ongoing care and an advocate for your best quality of life.  

(Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and primary care physician at UCLA Health.)

(Send your questions to, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o Media Relations, UCLA Health, 924 Westwood Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA, 90095. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.)

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Dr Paul The Dentist
Trinity Dodge Fixed
NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact UsLife
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2018 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved