Everyone knows the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Getting preventive care is just like having that apple a day. When you get regular preventive care, like going to the doctor for check-ups, you help protect and maintain your good health and help avoid more serious conditions.
What is preventive care?
When most people think about preventive care, they think about vaccines. Flu shots, MMR boosters, and tetanus shots are all important safeguards against common viruses that have affected much of the population in the past. Because of preventive care, they are now very rare.
But regular preventive care includes much more than your yearly flu shot. Screenings, blood tests, counseling, and other kinds of health checks help keep both your body and your mind in good condition.
For instance, women over the age of forty are encouraged to get regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Close to 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over a lifetime, but the disease can be treated with much greater success if it’s caught in its early stages. It’s also important to screen for other forms of cancer, like colorectal or cervical cancers. Cancer screenings are simple procedures that could save years of your life.
Your health isn’t just about your body; screenings for mental health issues are another kind of preventive care. If you notice someone you love beginning to show signs or regular fatigue, changing his or her eating habits, or talking about suicide, it might be important for that person to go through a depression screening. Likewise, if you suspect that you or someone you love drinks too much, it’s a simple process to head to the doctor and let a professional opinion guide you. Mental illnesses are incredibly prevalent in America (more than 1 in 4 people suffer from them, so you or your loved one is not alone), and like physical illnesses, they can be treated with proper care as long as they’re identified.
But how much does it cost?
Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide certain preventive health services for free. Why? Because many people may have a hard time setting aside money for services they feel they don’t immediately need. While preventive care is vital, and ultimately saves money, it’s hard to remember that when your monthly budget is on the line.
So the ACA intervened, and made sure that paying for preventive care is as easy as possible — so easy, in fact, that you don’t have to do it! You don’t have to pay copayments or coinsurance to obtain preventive care, even if you haven’t met your deductible. Most plans are required to follow this rule; check with HealthMarkets Insurance Agency if you have questions about yours.
What kinds of preventive care are covered under my health plan?
Most insurance plans now offer the following preventive care for free (in-network):
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm one-time screening
- Alcohol Misuse screening and counseling
- Aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease for men and women of certain ages
- Blood Pressure screening for all adults
- Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
- Colorectal Cancer screening for adults over 50
- Depression screening for adults
- Diabetes (Type 2) screening for adults with high blood pressure
- Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
- Hepatitis B screening for people at high risk (see your doctor to determine your risk)
- Hepatitis C screening for adults at increased risk, and one time for everyone born 1945 – 1965
- HIV screening for everyone ages 15 to 65, and other ages at increased risk
- Immunization vaccines for adults — doses, recommended ages, and recommended populations vary:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster
- Human Papillomavirus
- Influenza (Flu Shot)
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella
- Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
- Lung cancer screening for adults 55 – 80 at high risk for the disease
- Obesity screening and counseling for all adults
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention counseling for adults at higher risk
- Syphilis screening for all adults at higher risk
- Tobacco Use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users
HealthMarkets is here to help.
HealthMarkets Insurance Agency provides plans that include free preventive care, and one of our more than 3,000 licensed agents is happy to talk to you about getting free preventive care. Give us a call today at (800) 304-3414 or find an agent near you to find out more about how to protect your good health while you still have it.