As of Jan. 1, Medicare covers a free — truly free, no co-pay, no deductible — “wellness visit” every year for its 46 million patients.
That is, if you’re on Medicare, instead of waiting until you’re sick to see the doctor, you can make an appointment to talk about all the ways you can avoid getting sick.
The new coverage is part of federal health care reform, and reflects the thinking that medicine needs to focus more on keeping people well rather than just treating them once they’re not.
Dr. Eddie Phillips, director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, is busy these days developing “wellness visit” tools mainly for doctors — or rather, for their offices, since patients will most often see nurses or health educators to talk wellness. But he kindly agreed to take a moment to help prepare patients for the visits. What can you expect? How can you get the most out of yours? Continue reading