That's going to cost you: Wellness visit parameters take some patients by surprise

Patients have expressed concern after receiving a letter from Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health that lists what can and cannot be addressed during preventive care visits, according to WBTV, a CBS affiliate.

Sending patients letters detailing services that would and would not be covered in wellness visits is not a unique practice. The letter makes clear that if certain uncovered services are addressed in the wellness visit, the patient may incur an additional charge or have to make a separate appointment.

But some Atrium Health patients took to Facebook to express their surprise. Facebook user Rachael Nord posted her surprise that some things she thought she would be able to bring up to her physician were on the list of services not covered during preventive care visits. Her post received more that 100 comments with similar concerns.

Stacey Dixson, one of the people who commented on Ms. Nord's post, told WBTV, "I feel like I shouldn't have to walk out of there and worry about the tally of my bill. So that would cause me to maybe not ask questions that I have concerns about."

Atrium Health maintains that the letter is only meant to let patients know "what constitutes an annual visit so they are not surprised by any charges that their insurance/health plan may not cover if there are any diagnostic charges," a spokesperson told WBTV.

The health system has been sending letters for the last five years for all types of wellness visits. The spokesperson said that patients can feel free to ask any question they like.

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