Advertiser Disclosure

Does Medicare Cover Annual Physicals?

3 mins read
Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your health and finances. Although we may receive compensation from our partner insurance companies, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. CoverRight Inc. and CoverRight Insurance Services Inc. (NPN: 19724057) are collectively referred to here as "CoverRight".

Medicare is a federally mandated health insurance plan that covers senior citizens over 65 years and younger individuals with certain diseases and disabilities. Given its complex rules, eligibility criteria, and enrollment requirements, Medicare can be challenging to navigate for those looking to optimize their healthcare benefits. 

In this article, we cover a specific aspect of Medicare, namely: Does Medicare cover annual physicals?

Regular annual check-ups are an important component of any individual’s overall health and well-being, but especially so for senior citizens. Let’s understand Medicare coverage of annual physicals in detail. 

Will Medicare pay for my annual physical?

Medicare coverage of annual physicals is a nuanced topic. 

While Medicare Part B does cover certain preventive services such as screenings and vaccinations, it does not typically cover routine annual physical exams.

It does, however, cover two types of visits that serve similar purposes: the Welcome to Medicare exam and the Annual Wellness Visit.

The ‘Welcome to Medicare’ exam is a one-time visit available within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B. This comprehensive exam includes a review of your medical and social history, measurements like height, weight, and blood pressure, and education and counseling about preventative services.

The ‘Annual Wellness Visit’ is available to Medicare beneficiaries who have been enrolled in Medicare for 12 months or more. This visit focuses on developing or updating a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. It includes discussions about screenings, vaccinations, and other preventive services.

It’s important to note that neither the Welcome to Medicare exam nor the Annual Wellness Visit includes a comprehensive physical examination like the one you receive during a routine check-up with your doctor. These visits are more focused on preventive care planning and education.

If you require a physical examination for diagnostic purposes or to address specific health concerns, Medicare may cover the costs of the visit as long as it is not classified as a routine annual physical. The out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic visits may vary depending on the services provided and whether you have supplemental insurance.

Do I need an annual physical to stay on Medicare?

It’s a common misconception that an annual physical is a requirement to maintain Medicare coverage. Medicare does not mandate annual physical exams for beneficiaries to remain enrolled in the program.

While regular check-ups and preventative care are essential to maintain good health, Medicare guidelines do not stipulate that beneficiaries must undergo a yearly physical examination to retain coverage.

Instead, Medicare emphasizes the importance of preventative care and offers various services and screenings to help beneficiaries stay healthy and detect potential health issues early. These services include screenings for conditions like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, as well as vaccinations and counseling on healthy lifestyle habits.

That said, while an annual physical may not be required to stay on Medicare, it is still advisable to schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your health and address any concerns. 

Your doctor can help create a personalized healthcare plan based on your individual needs and risk factors to ensure you receive the appropriate care and support.

Reach out to CoverRight for everything Medicare and maximize your benefits to secure a brighter retirement.


Is there a difference between a Welcome to Medicare exam, an Annual Wellness Visit, and an annual physical?

Yes, there are distinctions between these three types of visits under Medicare. 

The Welcome to Medicare exam is a one-time preventive visit available within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B. It focuses on reviewing your medical and social history, providing education and counseling on preventative services, and developing a personalized prevention plan. 

The Annual Wellness Visit is available annually after you’ve been enrolled in Medicare for 12 months or more. It includes a review of your medical history, measurements such as height, weight, and blood pressure, and the development of a personalized prevention plan.

An annual physical, also known as a diagnostic exam, involves a comprehensive evaluation of your overall health, including examinations of various bodily systems and diagnostic tests as needed.

Will Medicare cover the cost of an annual physical exam?

Medicare Part B does not typically cover routine annual physical exams because they are considered diagnostic rather than preventative visits. Medicare does, however, cover certain preventive services such as screenings for specific conditions and vaccinations. Make sure to discuss your specific healthcare needs with your doctor to determine which services are covered by Medicare and which may require out-of-pocket payment.

How can I reduce my out-of-pocket costs for an annual physical exam?

There are several ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs for an annual physical exam. 

One option is to enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan, which can cover some or all of the expenses not covered by Medicare Part B. 

Another option is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), which may offer additional benefits and coverage for services like annual physical exams. 

It’s important to compare plan options carefully and consider your particular healthcare needs when choosing coverage.

Connor Wilson

Connor is a Content Writer at CoverRight focused on editing and publishing Medicare and health insurance-related information. He also serves the team as a Business Operations Lead, working to expand the business and enhance its strategy. Prior to joining CoverRight, Connor was able to hone his knowledge of the financial services industry through his work in investment banking. Additionally, he is the self-published author of a mystery novel.

Latest from Blog