Preventative Medicine

The Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” expanded healthcare coverage to include preventive services1. These services are provided without a deductible, copay, or coinsurance. By following a recommended vaccination schedule, you can help to protect yourself from diseases.

Below is a list of the vaccinations that are covered by health insurance as free preventive services. Of course, it is imperative that you talk with a physician before scheduling any vaccines.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are diseases that affect the liver. In addition to vaccines, personal hygiene and proper sanitary practices can help prevent the spread of these diseases.

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

If you have ever had the chickenpox, you are at risk of contracting herpes zoster, also known as shingles. Shingles is a skin rash that is common in adults over 50. Stress, injury, and certain medications can increase the chances of getting shingles.

Influenza (Flu Shot)

The influenza vaccine is simply a seasonal flu shot. It is recommended that everyone over the age of six months get the flu vaccine annually. Flu shots are extremely common and are available at your doctor’s office and even many pharmacies or drug stores.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Known as MMR, the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is a 3-in-1 vaccine. If you did not receive your MMR vaccine as an infant, were born after 1956, and have not had any of the three diseases, your doctor may recommend a vaccination. The vaccine has a great track record of preventing these three life-threatening diseases.

Meningococcal

Meningococcal disease can refer to any disease caused by a bacteria known as Neisseria meningitides. According to the CDC, “the illness most people are familiar with is meningococcal meningitis, which people sometimes just call meningitis.” There are two types of vaccines for meningococcal diseases available in the US. It is recommended that all 11-12 year olds receive the vaccine, especially considering that the highest rates of infection are in people ages 16-21.

Pneumococcal

There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines: PCV13 and PPSV23. Which one you need depends on your age and other risk factors. Pneumococcal disease can result in pneumonia, infection of the blood, middle-ear infection, or bacterial meningitis. These diseases often affect children under five years of age.

Tetanus (Lockjaw), Diphtheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Licensed in 2005, the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine, also known as “Tdap,” is a one-time vaccine that protects against all three diseases. The vaccine is typically administered at age eleven or twelve.

Varicella (Chickenpox)

If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you’re aware of the symptoms. It is a highly contagious disease that causes itchy, often painful blisters and sometimes fever. The varicella vaccine has been shown to prevent the chicken pox 80-90% of the time. The vaccine is administered in two doses.

While no vaccine is 100% effective, the use of vaccines drastically reduces the number of infections from all of the diseases listed above. Today, most private insurance plans should cover any of these vaccines.

If you are currently uninsured and are looking for health insurance, call HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. Our agents can help you understand what’s available, select the plan that meets your needs and budget, and help you apply for coverage. We’ll even help you determine whether you qualify for a government subsidy that could cover up to 100% of your premium cost. Best of all, our help is available at no cost to you.

To find a qualified agent who can help you sort through your options, visit HealthMarkets.com or call (888) 858-6540.

 

1 http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2010/09/The-Affordable-Care-Act-and-Immunization.html

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