Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit

The “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit is a medical appointment that takes place within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B. This free initial preventive physical examination (IPPE) includes a review of your medical history and allows your doctor to create a future care plan.

What Is the Welcome to Medicare Physical?

You are eligible to receive a free “Welcome to Medicare” physical within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B.

The purpose of this appointment is to learn about available screenings, vaccines and preventive services.

It also gives your doctor an opportunity to discuss your past medical history and create a roadmap for your future health care.

You only receive one Welcome to Medicare exam, and the checkup is optional.

After this initial exam, Medicare will cover a general wellness visit each year at no cost to you.

All Medicare Advantage plans also cover your Welcome to Medicare exam at no cost.

What’s Included in the Welcome to Medicare Visit?

The Welcome to Medicare visit is not the same as a comprehensive physical examination.

It does not include things such as blood and urine lab tests, or exams of the head, neck, lungs and abdomen.

However, this appointment is a unique chance to establish an ongoing relationship with a health care professional and receive personalized medical advice for your future.

A Welcome to Medicare visit includes:
  • A review of your personal and family health history
  • Flu and pneumococcal shots
  • Referrals for other care, if needed
  • Measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure
  • Review of your list of current medications
  • A calculation of your body mass index
  • A simple vision test
  • Screenings for hearing impairments, dementia and depression
  • An offer to discuss advance directives and other end-of-life documents
  • A written roadmap outlining the screenings, shots and other preventive care you need to stay healthy.

In order to make sure your visit is billed properly, let the doctor’s office know you are scheduling your one-time Welcome to Medicare checkup when you call to create an appointment.

It’s also important to bring a few things with you, including your medical and immunization records, details on your family health history and a list of any drugs, vitamins and supplements you currently take.

You might also want to make a list of three to five top medical concerns or questions you wish to discuss with your doctor.

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Cost of Medicare IPPE

There is no cost for the Welcome to Medicare preventive visit. Medicare covers 100 percent of expenses as long as you visit a qualified doctor or health care provider who accepts the assignment.

Your Part B deductible does not apply for this visit.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans also cover a Welcome to Medicare visit at no cost to you as long as you visit a health care provider within your network.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer more comprehensive physical exams. Check your plan’s Summary of Benefits to see what’s offered.

It’s important to note that during your Welcome to Medicare visit, the doctor may recommend additional screenings, diagnostic tests or treatments that aren’t fully covered.

Situations Where You May Have to Pay Coinsurance
  1. If your doctor performs additional tests or services during your Welcome to Medicare visit.
  2. If these additional tests or services aren't already covered under your other Medicare preventive benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Welcome to Medicare Visit

Is an EKG required during a Welcome to Medicare visit?
No. Medicare Part B covers one electrocardiogram screening if you receive a referral from your doctor or other health care provider as part of your one-time Welcome to Medicare preventive visit. However, your doctor will not perform an EKG during your visit.
Is the Welcome to Medicare physical mandatory?
The Welcome to Medicare appointment is optional. You do not need to have one to qualify for later annual wellness exams.
Are lab tests part of the IPPE?
The initial preventive physical exam does not include any clinical laboratory tests, but your health care provider can write referrals for these tests during your checkup.
Last Modified: September 9, 2021

5 Cited Research Articles

  1. American Academy of Family Physicians. (2020). FAQ on the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) and Initial Preventive Physical Examination. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/practice-management/payment/coding/medicare-coordination-services/awv/faq.html
  2. AARP. (n.d.). What is the “Welcome to Medicare” checkup? Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-qa-tool/whats-a-medicare-wellness-visit/
  3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Initial Preventative Physical Examination. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/MPS_QRI_IPPE001a.pdf
  4. Medicare.gov. (n.d.). EKG or ECG screenings. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/ekg-or-ecg-screenings
  5. Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Welcome to Medicare preventative visit. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/welcome-to-medicare-preventive-visit