Woman preparing for annual wellness visit via telehealth

Can an annual wellness visit be done via telehealth?

Medically reviewed on April 4, 2023 by Karen L. Janson, MS, MD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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If you’re looking to make an appointment with a primary care provider for a yearly checkup, you might be wondering, can an annual wellness visit be done via telehealth?

At an annual wellness visit, your healthcare provider may [1]:

  • Ask you about your general health over the past year
  • Review your current prescriptions, care plan, or providers
  • Provide personalized advice for ongoing issues (e.g., low energy or back pain)
  • Explore your personal and family health histories
  • Evaluate your height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Discuss or schedule further tests or exams

For many patients, these tasks could be well-suited for a telehealth visit: an appointment with a healthcare provider that offers virtual service instead of in-person. [2] So, the answer is yes—patients can complete an annual wellness visit via telehealth.

In this guide, we’ll consider how and when to use telehealth for an annual checkup, other scenarios when telemedicine might be useful, when you should opt for an in-person provider visit, and whether or not your insurance covers telehealth visits.

Can you use telehealth for an annual checkup?

If you’re interested in making a telemedicine appointment for your next checkup, you’re in luck. In many cases, you can make a virtual care appointment for an annual wellness visit. [2]

Telehealth checkups are an excellent choice for patients who can’t make in-person appointments due to:

  • Work scheduling
  • Lack of transportation access
  • Child or family care obligations

And, for people who are generally healthy, telemedicine can be an excellent tool for connecting with healthcare providers to discuss items like:

  • Prescription management
  • General health care and wellness plans
  • Nutrition and healthy lifestyle improvements
  • Minor pain or aches
  • Upcoming care items and treatments, including: Blood tests or scans; Physical exams; Vaccinations; Procedures

However, telemedicine service isn’t always right for every patient’s annual wellness visit. A telemedicine wellness examination is more focused and limited than a complete in-person physical examination. You should consider scheduling an in-person yearly checkup if [3]:

  • You have new or worsening physical symptoms
  • Your health has significantly changed since your last annual exam, for example: You were seriously injured; You were diagnosed with a major illness; You experienced a cardiac event; You spent time in a hospital
  • A physical exam seems necessary for any reason

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What kind of care can telehealth provide?

In addition to annual wellness visits, patients often use telehealth appointments for [2]:

  • Consultations – If you’re interested in seeing a new healthcare provider or seeking specialized treatment for the first time, a provider might recommend a virtual appointment to help you get to know the care team, establish a preliminary care plan, or discuss treatment options.
  • Follow-ups with specialists – If you’re seeing a specialist, you could use telehealth for routine follow-up appointments. For instance, if you’re engaging in ongoing mental health care counseling sessions, you could talk to your providers via telehealth instead of in person.
  • Discussing test results – If your provider recently requested lab work or a blood test for a routine review, disease testing, or any other reason, you could use a telehealth appointment to talk through your results with your provider. If your test results indicate that you need an in-office evaluation, your provider will likely suggest an in-person appointment instead.
  • Prescription management – An established patient could also use telemedicine to chat with their providers about prescription refills, dose management, medication changes, or other medication-related topics.

When should you see an in-person healthcare provider immediately?

It’s important to note that, if you or a loved one are ever experiencing a pressing health emergency, you should strongly consider seeking urgent, in-person care right away. [2]

Contact emergency medical services if you’re experiencing:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Stroke symptoms like confusion or trouble speaking
  • Trouble breathing
  • A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis
  • An overdose of medication, drugs, or alcohol
  • A major injury

Will insurance cover annual wellness telehealth visits?

If you have insurance, your insurer may or may not cover telehealth visits. [4] If you’re interested in using insurance to help pay for a telehealth annual wellness visit, or wondering how much is a telehealth visit with insurance, speak with:

  • Your insurance company – Your insurer may recommend an in-network telehealth provider or explain which telehealth services are covered under your policy.
  • Your healthcare provider – Not all providers accept every insurance plan. Before making an appointment, confirm that your provider of choice will accept your policy.

An additional tip: If your insurance company doesn’t have any in-network telehealth providers, but they cover telehealth services, you may be able to file a claim for out-of-network treatment and receive reimbursement for your payment. For more information, review your policy or speak with your insurer.

Access telehealth and other services with Everlywell

Can an annual wellness visit be done via telehealth? In many cases, yes. Using telemedicine for a checkup could give you more convenient access to your healthcare provider for care plan updates, personalized advice, prescription management, and more.

At Everlywell, we’re proud to offer access to telemedicine for patients looking to learn more about their health. One of the benefits of telehealth services includes access to licensed healthcare providers ready to discuss your ongoing health issues, provide recommendations, and create personalized care plans.

If you’re ready to make empowered, informed decisions about your health, schedule a virtual care visit with a healthcare provider today.

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  1. Yearly "wellness" visits. Annual Wellness Visit Coverage. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/yearly-wellness-visits. Accessed March 8, 2023.
  2. What is telehealth? https://telehealth.hhs.gov/patients/understanding-telehealth. Published June 29, 2022. Accessed March 7, 2023.
  3. Andrews M. Virtual or in person: Which kind of doctor's visit is better and when does it matter? Health News Florida. https://health.wusf.usf.edu/health-news-florida/2023-03-07/virtual-or-in-person-which-kind-of-doctors-visit-is-better-and-when-does-it-matter. Published March 7, 2023. Accessed March 8, 2023.
  4. Private insurance coverage for Telehealth. https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/billing-and-reimbursement/private-insurance-coverage-for-telehealth. Published January 6, 2023. Accessed March 7, 2023.
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