Health Maintenance Exam

Opinions on routine health care exams continue to change in the medical community, and it is no longer common practice to recommend an annual physical exam for all people. Nevertheless, most people will benefit from seeing a medical provider for preventive health periodically, especially if they haven’t seen a doctor in many years. Keep in mind that going to an urgent care or primary care clinic for an acute complaint, such as an injury or infection, is not the same thing as a health maintenance exam. Typically a health maintenance exam will cover routine health issues such as immunization status and blood pressure screening, and may also cover such issues as maintaining an ideal weight, alcohol and tobacco use, and cholesterol screening.

There is not a strong consensus as to how often people should see a medical provider for maintenance health care, but many experts recommend an annual visit for those over age 50 and less frequently (perhaps every 2-3 years) for younger individuals. People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or chronic kidney disease may need to see a medical provider more frequently. Medicare part B covers yearly “Wellness” visits.

My Pledge

“I will see a physician or other medical provider for a health maintenance exam.”