News | Published August 4, 2014 | Written by Richard Hale, DO, internal medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Reminder: Free wellness visits available to Medicare patients

When it comes to healthcare, Benjamin Franklin’s famous words continue to ring true: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Indeed, taking preventive measures to stay well (eating right, staying active, and having regular check-ups) can go a long way in avoiding chronic—and costly—health complications down the road. 

Fortunately, one of the most vulnerable patient populations (Medicare patients) have access to free yearly wellness visits. If you or a loved one has Medicare coverage, keep in mind that the following services are available at no cost:

Initial Preventive Physical Exam (also known as an IPPE or “Welcome to Medicare” visit):

  • Done within the first 12 months for Medicare Part B coverage
  • Includes a review of medical and social history
  • Education and counseling about preventive services
  • Physical exam:
    • Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
    • BMI calculation
    • Simple vision test
    • A review of potential risk for depression and level of safety
    • An offer to talk about advanced directives
    • A written plan about which screenings, shots, and other preventive services are necessary

Annual Wellness Visit (also known as an “AWV”):

  • Done once a year after having Medicare Part B for 12 months
  • Includes:
    • Health risk assessment
    • Review of medical and family history
    • Developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions
    • Height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
    • Detection of cognitive impairment
    • Personalized health advice
    • List of risk factors and treatment options  
    • A screening schedule for appropriate preventive services

According to Medicare’s website (, these services are offered at no cost to Medicare patients. Note: Any additional tests or services performed by a patient’s provider during the same visit are not covered; the patient may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.

Looking for a provider? Mount Nittany Physician Group offers adult primary care practices at six convenient locations throughout the region – all accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call our toll-free number at 844. 278.4600 or visit