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Health and wellness

Annual Wellness Visits – Check In and Check Up!

What if you could avoid getting sick? While an annual wellness visit isn’t your golden pass to get out of illness, it can head things off before they get worse.

What is an annual wellness visit?

A wellness visit is a meeting between you and your doctor, also called your primary care provider, once a year, to talk about your health concerns, go over your health history and consider other services to help keep you well. Your wellness visit isn’t a full physical exam. During this visit, your doctor will record your blood pressure, weight and height. Your doctor also will ask questions to determine your risk for certain health conditions and recommend screenings and tests. You, too, can ask questions – remember, you and your doctor are partners in your healthcare.

How can I get the most out of my visit?

Once you’ve made an appointment, prepare some notes to review with your doctor. Here’s a checklist that may help:

  • Write down any existing problems you have.
  • Write down any changes you've noticed, including when the change began and what's different now.
  • Make a list of your current prescription medications, including the doses, how often you take them and who prescribed them.
  • Bring a list of any over-the-counter medications and supplements you take.

Does my insurance cover this wellness visit?

Each policy has different coverage. Call the number on the back of your member ID card and one of our friendly customer service representatives can help you.

How can I avoid extra charges?

If your doctor recommends a test or procedure, ask if it’s a preventive or diagnostic screening and if it’s covered as part of your wellness visit. If your doctor doesn’t know, you can call the number on the back of your member ID card and one of our friendly customer service representatives can help you. You can always schedule another visit to do those tests.

Why is having a family doctor important?

Building a relationship with your family doctor (also called a primary care physician) helps you get the best possible care. Your doctor gets to know you in a relaxed setting, when you are not sick. Together, you review your family history and your medical history and make a plan to stay as healthy as possible. Your doctor also keeps track of your screenings and can remind you to schedule them. Should you need to see a specialist, your primary care doctor can recommend one. If you need a family doctor, please visit arkbluecross.com/findcare and be sure to call the doctor’s office to verify that they are accepting new patients.

What are some other health exams or screenings my doctor might suggest?

If you have a fully insured health plan, you have certain preventive services covered at no cost to you. You can find out which services are available specifically for your age and gender on healthcare.gov or by calling the customer service number on your member ID card. Your doctor may suggest the screenings below.

Preventive Screenings and Services for Men and Women

NameAgeHow often
Blood Pressure ScreeningAll AdultsAt least annually and at every doctor visit if you have high blood pressure
Diabetes Screening40 - 70

At least annually for individuals who:

  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have a history of high blood pressure
OsteoporosisWomen: 65 and older
Men: 70 and older
Every two years
Colon Cancer Screening50-75

You and your doctor can decide which one of these screenings is right for you:

  • Fecal occult blood test every year
  • Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • CT Colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
76 and olderAsk your doctor
Flu ShotAll AdultsAnnually
Pneumonia Vaccine65 and olderAsk your doctor

Preventive Screenings for Men

NameAgeHow often
Cholesterol Screening20-35Ask your doctor
35 and olderEvery 5 years (If normal results)
Prostate Cancer50-69Annually
70 and olderAsk your doctor

Preventive Screenings for Women

NameAgeHow often
Cervical Cancer Pap Smear21-65Every three years after becoming sexually active; not needed after a total hysterectomy
66 and olderAsk your doctor
Cholesterol Screening20-45Ask your doctor
45 and olderEvery 5 years (If normal results)
Mammography55-74Every two years
75 and olderAsk your doctor

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Don’t delay – if you haven’t had your annual wellness exam, now's the time to schedule it!