For decades, Medicare has provided seniors and people with disabilities health coverage - to focus on their conditions or diseases. Now, preventative care is also being stressed. Medicare patients are required to schedule an annual wellness visit with their doctors.

These annual wellness visits allow doctors to update a patient's medical and family history, establish a list of current providers and suppliers of medical care, calculate a person’s height, weight and BMI and monitor their blood pressure. A doctor can also screen for cognitive impairments. Along with direct observation and medical records, a physician may also consult with family members.

During a yearly wellness visit, your doctor or nurse should also give you a short written plan with a checklist of screening tests for cancer or other diseases, as well as other preventive services you will need over the next 5 to 10 years.

You pay nothing for the yearly visit if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment. The Part B deductible doesn’t apply. However, if your doctor performs additional tests or services during the same visit that are not covered under these preventive benefits, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.

To learn more, call our Ask the Doctor guest at (775) 858-2222 between 5 – 6 p.m. Dr. Marie McCormack is the Medical Director of Renown Medical Group. You can reach Renown Medical Group during regular business hours at (775) 982-5625. Or log on to: