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Medicare covers many preventive care services without charge.  Most of these services have been recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.  However, which beneficiaries qualify to receive these services and when can be confusing.  Preventive services are covered under Medicare Part B.  The deductible and co-insurance are waived for most preventive services.

Screenings to detect disease are typically considered preventive if the patient has no prior symptoms of the disease.  Medicare covers most preventive care free of charge.  In some cases, Medicare will only cover diagnostic tests if you have certain risk factors.  Diagnostic services tend to be those to address symptoms or conditions you already have.  You typically need to pay a deductible, copays or coinsurances for diagnostic services.

Medicare Advantage plans cannot charge for preventive care services that are free for people with original Medicare as long as beneficiaries see in-network providers.  If people see providers outside of their plan network, charges will typically apply.

The Welcome to Medicare Visit is a one-time visit with a physician or other health care provider that must occur within the first 12 months of someone’s enrollment in Medicare.  This visit is designed to map out your health needs and to help create a preventive service plan or checklist to keep you healthy.

The Annual Wellness Visits (first and subsequent) are similar to but not the same as the Welcome to Medicare visit.  The annual wellness visit is a yearly visit with your primary care doctor to create or update a 5-10 year preventive schedule based on your needs.

None of these annual preventive visits is considered a traditional annual head-to-toe physical.

The Welcome to Medicare and the all Annual Wellness visits should include:

The initial Annual Wellness Visit cannot happen in the same 12 months as the Welcome to Medicare Visit.  Similarly, no Annual Wellness Visit can occur in the same 12 month period as the previous annual Wellness Visit.  You do not have to have had a Welcome to Medicare Visit to be eligible for annual Wellness visits.

For a complete list of services covered at 100 percent by Medicare Part B, go to

Preventative Care Benefits