Frequently asked questions

What is an Annual Physical?


There is a difference between a routine office visit and a physical exam and your insurance company is very particular about this. The Affordable Care Act details what is considered Preventive Services. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you discuss symptoms at your physical you may be subject to a copay and deductible. A physical, now called "Wellness Visit" by the insurance companies, is a PREVENTATIVE visit and includes a whole body exam, medication review, medical history review, vaccine, lab and pertinent age appropriate studies. (e.g. colonoscopy, mammogram, dexa). Please bring an updated medication list. Include all medications, supplements and vitamins, including herbal remedies. A routine office visit is the time to discuss your current health concerns or ongoing treatment of chronic medical conditions. Unfortunately, due to new insurance coverage limitations on most patients' plans, an office visit and a complete physical exam cannot be combined on the same visit.




Are Physicals Covered by Insurance?


Due to the complexity and variety of insurance policies, Friendswood Family Medicine cannot be responsible for knowing every patient's coverage. It is very important for you to know the details of your policy. However, under the new healthcare laws, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services at no cost to you . Do not postpone routine care awaiting your physical. Your insurance company may determine your appointment is an office visit and bill you for the copay and/or deductible. Think of it this way; Your annual wellness visit is your opportunity to meet with your provider for 30 minutes and focus on how to be healthy in the future! It is a wonderful benefit but, requires a change in thinking. Bringing "Your List" to go over with the provider once a year is not what the Health Care Reform covers. Example: Let’s say you make a doctor’s appointment specifically for a preventive service or test (Preventative Care Visit/Physical/Wellness visit), but during the course of the visit you are treated for an unrelated problem, like the flu or changes in your diabetes medications. For this visit you would be required to pay the copayment for the office visit.




Prescription Refills


We strive to refill your prescriptions in a safe and timely manner. Here’s how you can help us do that. Because our office receives many prescription refill requests every day, we would like to remind you of how you can help ensure the process works smoothly and you do not miss any doses of your medications.

  • Please call your pharmacy first and speak to a person when you need a prescription refill, not our office, even if you think you have no refills remaining. You may find that you do have refills available. If this is not the case, the pharmacy will contact our office.
  • This is the most efficient way for you to renew your prescriptions.
  • If you use a mail-order pharmacy be sure to request refills at least 2 weeks before your prescription runs out. Again, you should first contact your mail-order pharmacy directly when you need a refill and they will contact our office.
  • If you are using a mail-order pharmacy for the first time we recommend setting up your profile with them before we send electronic prescriptions, or you will need to mail paper prescriptions to them.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your office visits. Many medications require periodic visits or blood level monitoring.
Although we will do our best to respond to refill requests the same day, please allow 2 business days for your refill request to be processed.




What is an Office Visit?


Most appointments will be office visits. This is an opportunity to discuss new or existing problems, prescribe and review medications, order necessary procedures, and orchestrate treatment/consultations with specialists.




Missed Appointments


Your appointment is a reservation for you. Missing an appointment, or not giving 24 hours advance notice of a change denies other patients the opportunity to visit the clinic. With the new health-care realities, we will be sharing the financial expense of missed appointments. A missed office visit will result in a $25 no-show fee. We realize this is a departure from historical medical clinic practice and may not be well received. Appreciating the impact of an entire clinic reserved for your appointment is a major commitment. We continue to provide appointment reminder messages that will give you multiple opportunities to reschedule without a fee.




Billing Insurance


As a courtesy, Friendswood Family Medicine will bill your health insurance. However, the patient is ultimately responsible for all fees incurred for services rendered. If the primary insurance does not pay within 60 days of the visit, the remaining balance will be billed or charged to the patient or responsible party.
There is no guarantee, stated or implied, that all services or procedures will be covered by the patient’s insurance. Friendswood Family Medicine does not know the intricacies of every insurance policy and how they may or may not adhere to the tenants of medicine. It is the insured’s responsibility to know their insurance benefits and guidelines.




No Insurance?


We do have cash pay options for patients that do not have medical insurance. Payment is due at the time of the visit, we do not extend credit. We will do our best to estimate the cost of the visit based on complexity.
If you have a current condition, it can be addressed during your initial visit. This does make the initial appointment more expensive but once established, your long term wellbeing will be the focus of your care.
The New Patient Establish Visit is 30 minutes. During this appointment your medical history, family medical history, current conditions, current medications, and a physical review of systems will be performed. Please call the office to inquire about pricing for our cash pay patient services.




What is the difference between a physical and an office visit?


We would like to help our patients understand the difference between an office visit and a physical. This is especially important when we submit a bill to your insurance company for that visit. This will help you get the right service and help us serve your needs as best we can. When scheduling an appointment, our office tries to calculate the time you need with the provider and whether you need a physical or an office visit.

Most of the time, patients are seen for an office visit.

An office visit is an appointment time to discuss new or existing problems. The questions and exam will focus on the problems discussed. This may include prescribing medications, ordering additional tests like blood work or x-rays, in-office procedures like an EKG, referrals to specialists, or discussing other treatment options.

A “physical”, "preventative health visit”, or a “wellness exam” is a thorough review of your general wellbeing. The provider will perform a complete physical examination and make recommendations concerning your health. This may include general recommendations regarding diet and exercise, age appropriate immunizations and cancer screening exams such as a pap test, prostate or breast exam and lab work.

We hope you find this information helpful. We want to provide you with the highest quality medical care possible. If you need further information regarding this, please contact our office