Does Medicare Cover Annual Physicals?

Does Medicare Cover Annual Physicals? – Overview

Medicare mainly covers the cost of healthcare services that are used to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Sometimes, Medicare also covers preventive services, such as annual wellness visits. However, annual wellness visits are different from annual physical exams.

In this article, we shall learn the details of wellness visits covered by Medicare.

What is an Annual Physical Examination?

Annual physical examinations are yearly visits to your doctor. These visits are meant to ensure that you are overall healthy and have not developed any medical conditions/disorders since your last examination.

Annual physical exams can be beneficial for adults of all health statuses to monitor their health and catch potential issues early. Still, people who have a complex medical history and those who want to feel assured of their good health can benefit greatly from this type of exam.

Physical examinations are a great way to detect, prevent and treat numerous medical ailments and illnesses in the human body.

Medicare Coverage for Initial Physical Examination

Does Medicare cover Annual Physicals

Does Medicare cover Annual Physicals – Medicare Coverage for Initial Physical Examination

A person qualifies for the initial preventive physical examination (IPPE).

This is also known as a Welcome to Medicare physical exam. This physical exam is conducted within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B.

Enrollment in Medicare usually begins when you turn 65. People with disabilities may qualify earlier, depending on their health condition.

Some of the tests in an IPPE include:

#1. Preventive service education

#2. Medical history review

#3. The social health history review

The Welcome to Medicare preventive visit (IPPE) is covered without cost to the patient for Medicare Part B beneficiaries, if the healthcare provider accepts assignment.

Medicare Coverage for Annual Visits

Medicare Part B covers one annual wellness visit each year at no cost to the beneficiary if the healthcare provider accepts Medicare assignment.

As per the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the types of healthcare professionals who can perform Medicare-sponsored annual wellness visits include:

#1. Doctor or physician

#2. Licensed nurse practitioner

#3. Certified clinical nurse specialist

#4. Physician Assistant

#5. Health educator

#6. Registered dietician

#7. Clinically-attached healthcare professional working as a consultant

Medicare covers the cost of AWV once every 12 months and provides the following services:

#1. Completing a health risk assessment

#2. Setting up a personal prevention plan

#3. Updating personalized protection plan

Some other preventive services covered by Medicare Part B include:

#1. Colorectal cancer screening

#2. Bone mass measurements

#3. Diabetes screening

#4. Depression screening

#5. Medical nutrition therapy

#6. Glaucoma screening

#7. Breast cancer screening

#8. Prostate cancer screening

While an AWV typically doesn’t include ECGs or lab tests as part of the visit, these services may be ordered separately based on medical necessity and could incur costs. However, the healthcare professional may advise these tests during the same visit.

In such a case, you may have to bear the cost of additional services in copayments, deductibles, and application payments.

To learn more details about whether Medicare covers annual physicals, you can visit the official Medicare website at or call directly at 800-633-4227.

Why Does Medicare Not Cover Annual Physicals?

The main reason why Medicare does not cover annual physicals is the difference between the two.

Medicare does not cover annual physical exams as defined by a comprehensive physical examination and various tests; instead, it covers an annual wellness visit which focuses on prevention and planning for healthcare needs.

The annual wellness visit includes a review of your medical and family history, developing or updating a personalized prevention plan, and may include screenings, preventive services, and educational information, not just routine measurements.

Wellness visits are meant to improve your overall health by looking at your medical history and status. Physical exams are more hands-on, whereas annual visits are more hands-off when evaluating.


Medicare has strict rules regarding coverage for preventive care. This includes the list of tests that are included and excluded.

Generally, Medicare covers one IPPE during your first year with Medicare Part B. Conventional Medicare also covers the cost of 1 AWC every year you are enrolled in the program.

When you schedule an AWV, you should specify the type of appointment you require. This way, you can avoid several unwanted personal costs for the process.

If you are unsure of your plan’s coverage, it is advisable to contact Medicare beforehand.

See Also

Does Medicare Cover Dental?

Does Medicaid Cover Braces?

Texas BON

Does Medicare Cover Shingles Shots?

Does Medicare Eye Exams

Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery?

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic?

Does Medicare Cover Long Term Care?

Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?

Current Version
August 14, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
March 22, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

Follow us