Annual Physical Examinations: What You Need to Know
A yearly physical is a special visit specifically reserved for you and your medical provider to focus on prevention and screening. Insurance companies usually allow a physical once every 12 months at no charge to you. The reason that insurance companies do this is that often times there are serious conditions that are missed as we in medicine tend to always be focusing on known diseases or illness and not on prevention. These missed conditions result in much higher treatment costs to you and the insurance company down the road if left untreated. The insurance company therefore sees this as a cost effective approach to limiting the ever growing cost of healthcare. We at Complete Care Medicine agree with this and therefore embrace the idea of a visit solely dedicated to prevention and screening. In order to take full advantage of the time at your visit, we ask that you fast for at least 8 hours before coming to your appointment. An acceptable fast means no food or drink besides water (the more water the better as to prevent dehydration making your blood draw more difficult). This will allow us to draw any necessary labs at the time of your appointment. A yearly physical consists of the following items based on your age and risk factors:
Screening questions to identify if you are at risk for:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Vision and Hearing problems
- Tobacco Abuse
- Excessive Alcohol use
- Depression and other mood disorder screening
- Cancers including: Colon cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate cancer and blood based cancers
We also offer guidance and counseling for:
- Diet and Exercise
- Weight Loss
- Proper Nutrition
- Advance Directives
Once these questions have been asked, appropriate screening tests will be ordered based on prevailing recommendations and your risk factors.
A complete physical exam of your heart, lungs and other body systems is also performed.
If there are other concerns outside of these (i.e. discussion of chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, low back pain or any acute illnesses that you may be experiencing), the insurance company considers this a normal visit and either requires another appointment be made to address these issues or if the provider has time they can be addressed at the same office visit at which time a co-pay/deductible may be required and an additional office visit billed on top of the physical. It is considered insurance fraud for us to bill a normal visit as a yearly physical and therefore we cannot do that. If you are unsure if something is part of the free yearly physical, please be sure to ask your provider.