Frequently Asked Questions

What is a well visit?

A well visit is a scheduled appointment with your doctor or nurse when you are not sick. This visit helps to prevent health problems and is a perfect chance for you to talk to your doctor or nurse. Many people use terms like "checkup" or "yearly physical" instead of well visit-all of these terms mean the same thing.

What happens during a well visit?

Most well visits include a medical history, physical exam, health screenings, health counseling, and immunizations.

How can a well visit help me?

Well visits provide you with the opportunity to:

  • build a relationship with your doctor or nurse;

  • know your risks for diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke;

  • prevent health problems before they happen; and

  • work with your doctor or nurse to develop a plan to keep you healthy.

How often should I have a well visit?

Adults should see their doctor or nurse for a well visit once every 1-3 years, depending on your individual health and risk factors. Talk to your doctor or nurse to find out how often you should have a well visit. Children, teens, and young adults between the ages of 2 and 21 should see their doctor or nurse every year. Children under the age of 2 should see their doctor or nurse more frequently. To find out how often, please click on "Children's Well-Visit Schedule" at the bottom of the page.

Can I choose my own doctor? Can I change my mind later on?

If you are required to enroll in a MassHealth managed-care plan, you can choose any doctor or nurse that is permitted by MassHealth, or by your MassHealth managed-care plan to be your primary-care provider. If you want a doctor or nurse who speaks a certain language or if you prefer having a male or female doctor or nurse, ask about that when you (or your parent or guardian, if you are a minor) sign up for a primary-care provider with the Member Services staff person for your plan. If you chose a doctor or nurse and then realize that you are not happy with your choice, you (or your parent or guardian, if you are a minor) can call the Member Services phone number for your health plan and ask to change. If you are not required to enroll in a MassHealth managed-care plan, you can get health care from any enrolled MassHealth provider.

Once I have chosen a primary-care provider, how do I make an appointment for a well visit?

All you need to do is call your doctor's or nurse's office and tell them that you need an appointment for a well-care visit or a checkup. If you already have a primary-care provider but aren't sure what the telephone number is, just call MassHealth Member Services at 1-800-841-2900, or call Member Services for your MassHealth managed-care plan.

What can I do to get ready for my well visit?

It's good to be prepared for your well visit. Before you go to your visit:

  • be sure you have your MassHealth card with you;
  • pack up and take with you all medications you are taking or make a list of any medications you are taking; and
  • write down any questions or health concerns you have. This will help you remember the things you want to discuss with your doctor or nurse.

For more information on how to communicate with your doctor or nurse, please click on "Talking to Your Doctor or Nurse" below.


This information is provided by MassHealth.