Guest Column

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

Is the AWV visit a physical? How much will it cost me?

If you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you are eligible for a specific type of visit without any out-of-pocket cost called the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV).

During this visit, your primary care provider will address your preventive care needs such as vaccinations, risk assessments, and screenings. They will also provide you with a written plan for continued wellness.

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However, it is important to remember:

  • The AWV is limited to prevention and does not include a physical exam or cover active medical conditions. 

    At Summit Medical Group (SMG), we believe good care is comprehensive care. Our physicians want to address any chronic medical problems or new complaints that you may have at the same time as your AWV. We call this visit: 

The Comprehensive Care Visit (CCV) because it treats your active medical needs at the same time as your preventive AWV.

For example, if you have difficulty sleeping or are experiencing back pain, your provider will not diagnose or treat these issues during your AWV. However, with the CCV, your physician will perform a brief exam and address any of your ongoing medical concerns including diabetes or arthritis.

Even though Medicare does not cover a physical exam, you can still get comprehensive care. The AWV is limited to preventive services. However, Medicare does allow your doctor to address other issues during the same visit with a CCV. When a CCV is added to the AWV, you are only responsible for a copayment or coinsurance similar to any other visit to the doctor.

When it comes to your health and well-being, your primary care provider is your partner. Schedule your comprehensive visit, which includes the AWV and CCV, today. If you have already scheduled a follow-up visit or physical, ask your provider to include the AWV at no additional cost to you.

What does the AWV include?

  • Review of medical, surgical, and family history
  • Measurement of height, weight, temperature, pulse, and blood pressure
  • Assessments for depression, risk of falls, and memory problems
  • Screens for prescriptions and over-the-counter drug interactions
  • Recommendations for immunizations, such as the flu or pneumovax shots, and health screenings, such as colonoscopy or mammogram
  • A written preventative plan is provided at the end of the visit that outlines next steps for continued wellness

Medicare covers AWV without any out-of-pocket cost to you.

What does the CCV include?

  • A physical exam
  • Management of acute and/or chronic conditions including back pain, allergies, difficulty sleeping, mental health concerns, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or heart palpitations
  • Referrals for laboratory or imaging tests
  • Follow-up with a specialty physician if required

When the CCV visit is part of the AWV you will be responsible for the copayment or coinsurance as with any other doctor’s visit.

For more information about the prevention and wellness services covered by Medicare, please visit

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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