Why It’s Important to Have a Relationship With a Doctor (Even if You Never Get Sick!)

Do you or a loved one suffer from white coat syndrome? It’s a legitimate condition that causes blood pressure to climb when you go to the doctor. While your fear of doctors might not rise to that level, many people are reluctant or even afraid to visit a physician. Just the idea of scheduling a doctor’s appointment can cause anxiety and stress.

Which leads to the question, do you really need to see the doctor if you aren’t sick?

The answer is yes. You need a relationship with a doctor at every age, but especially as you get older. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule as to how often a healthy person needs to visit their doctor, at least once a year is usually a good idea. That annual appointment will enable your physician to detect small problems before they become big ones, and so much more.
The Importance of an Annual Physical

Scheduling a routine physical each year gives your physician an opportunity to discuss health screenings appropriate for your age, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. The doctor can also order bloodwork for essential screenings, such as cholesterol, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and more. Your primary care physician will likely make recommendations for immunizations, like the flu shot, a COVID-19 booster, and pneumonia and shingles vaccines.

During this annual appointment, you and your doctor can talk about how you are feeling mentally and physically. That includes discussing vague symptoms you may have ignored or chalked up to a busy lifestyle. Fatigue, for example, might seem like more of an annoyance than a serious health risk. But fatigue can also be a symptom of many types of health issues, ranging from sleep apnea and depression to cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Fortunately, most major health insurers will pay for one physical or wellness visit per year. For seniors participating in Medicare Part B, this appointment is covered by what is known as an annual Medicare Wellness Visit.
What Is the Medicare Wellness Visit?

If you are a senior or person with a disability who has been enrolled in Medicare Part B for at least one year, you are entitled to a Medicare Wellness Visit. It is a yearly appointment with your physician that is designed to identify and intervene early in health problems.

The good news is, your Medicare Part B deductible doesn’t apply to this visit, so there is no charge. But there is a catch: Any follow-up screenings or tests your doctor orders may have a co-pay or deductible. If you are concerned about the costs, talk with the billing specialist at your physician’s office before undergoing any testing. While they might not be able to provide all the answers, the billing person can probably refer you to someone who can.
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