Affordable Care Act Gives Wellness Checkups to Those on Medicare

One of the most important goals of the Affordable Care Act is to help people stay well so they don’t become ill or disabled from disease. The annual wellness visit was introduced in 2011 as part of this law for patients covered by Medicare, the government program for people who are 65 and older and people younger than 65 who have been eligible for Social Security disability for at least two years.

As a result, it’s now much easier for people with disabilities to get preventive care – with no co-payments, deductions or other costs.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare patients are entitled to one wellness visit every 12 months at no cost to the patient. Eliminating the co-payment or deductible removes one big obstacle many people have in making a medical appointment when they are not ill.

Still, it has taken patients a while to understand what annual wellness visits are all about. A survey from the John A. Hartford Foundation found that 54 percent of patients had not yet heard of the annual wellness visit; and 72 percent had not had an annual wellness visit in the last 12 months.

An annual wellness visit includes elements of the physical examination, but it also focuses on important health issues. See more here: