Annual Wellness Visits: What to Expect at your Physical | Health 101
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Health 101

So What Happens at an Annual Wellness Visit?

An annual wellness visit is when you see your primary care provider (PCP) at least once a year when you are feeling well and are not sick or injured. This wellness visit is a key to helping you live a healthier life and visits are a covered benefit at no cost to you.

Unfortunately, not everyone does this. If you are someone who does not do this, it is best you prepare for your annual wellness visit. Below are some of the basics of what to expect during one, or what to do after it. Read on to learn more.

 

Before

  • Make a list of any physical and mental health conditions you have, doctors you have seen, medications you are taking, and your family history of medical conditions. A few examples would include things like a heart attack, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
  • Make a list of questions you have for your PCP.
  • You will be asked for your health insurance card and Access card. Gather them ahead of time to bring them with you. Also bring a photo identification if you have one.
  • Make sure you know where you PCP’s office is and how you are getting to and from your wellness appointment. Medicaid and Medicare members are eligible for transportation assistance. Member Services can provide you with more details.

 

During

  • Your PCP will check your height, weight, and blood pressure. He or she will also listen to your heart and lungs.
  • You will talk with your doctor about any changes or concerns with your health. You’ll also want to let him or her know of any medications you take. These would include any over-the-counter (OTC) medications including vitamins and herbals. Let your provider know if you are having difficulty affording your medications. He or she might be able to point you in the right direction for help.
  • Your PCP may ask you about other providers you see.
  • You’ll be asked about your medical history, your mood, and alcohol, drug or tobacco use. Answer honestly so your doctor can provide the best care possible.
  • When your PCP asks you about tobacco use, remember, that would include vaping. If you are interested in quitting smoking, talk with your PCP. He or she can advise you on resources that can help.
  • The subject of your weight may come up. If so, ask your PCP if there is any special diet you should be following and what type of exercise would be good for you.
  • If available, your PCP may be able to give you vaccines such as the flu shot. You can find an adult immunization schedule here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html

 

Depending on your age and situation your doctor might also suggest other immunizations as well.

  • Your PCP will see if you are up to date on preventive screenings. This would include a colorectal cancer screening and, for women, a mammogram and a pap test. He or she may recommend other tests or blood work.

 

After

  • If your PCP feels you need additional care, you’ll need to arrange for a follow up visit or make an appointment with a specialist. Do this as soon as possible.
  • Be sure to have any testing (blood work, preventive health screenings) that your PCP asks you to complete as soon as you can.
  • Follow the plan you created with your PCP on ways you can stay healthy and prevent illness.
  • Fill any medications that the doctor prescribed during your visit.

 

Contact your primary care provider to schedule your next annual wellness visit. If you don’t know your PCP or would like to change your PCP, let us know and we at Gateway Health will help you find one.

 

This may seem like a lot to remember, but the good news is that, with Gateway Health, an annual wellness visit may help you earn a Goodness Reward. Just visit www.goodnessrewards.com, or call the number on the back of your member ID card for more information.

 

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