Getting a checkup in 2020

The beginning of the year is often a great time to see your Internal Medicine doctors at Academic Medical Associates for a check- up, or as we officially call it, an annual preventive visit. Most insurance plans cover a preventive visit once a year with no copays or deductibles.

What is included in a preventive visit?

The goal of a preventive visit with your primary care doctor is to identify unknown problems early and to address risk factors that can lead to problems in the future. Dr. Stephen Pratt and Dr. Janani Krishnaswami, provide typical services which include a blood pressure check, cholesterol test, and cancer screening tests (for example, mammogram, colon cancer testing). The doctor will usually also discuss your current vaccinations. The exact services that are appropriate will vary depending on your age, gender, and personal preferences.

However, the most important part of an annual preventive visit is counseling and education. The preventive visit is a great opportunity for your doctor to get to know you and what concerns you have for your future health. For example, we often use the time to talk about smoking, how it affects your health, and what you might be able to do to quit.

What is not included in a preventive visit?

A preventive visit should not be thought of as "one free visit to the doctor each year." The focus of a preventive visit is on avoiding future health problems rather than on managing ongoing or preexisting conditions (for most insurance plans, care for preexisting conditions is covered separately and is subject to the normal copays and deductibles).

A note to patients on Medicare

Unlike standard insurance, Medicare does not cover traditional checkups. Instead, Medicare provides what is called the "Medicare Annual Wellness Visit". Like a regular checkup, the AWV includes a review of risk factors and preventive services, but it also requires an assessment of conditions that are unique to older populations. This includes screening for dementia, discussion of end-of-life preferences, and related topics, which often can be sensitive subjects for older people.

At this time, Academic Medical Associates does not have an AWV program for our patients on Medicare; however, we are still dedicated to making sure all of our patients get the necessary medical services that they need at any age.

To schedule an appointment, call us at (972) 445-9515 or book your appointment online.