*Content provided courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
PREVENTIVE CARE IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH—AND IT COMES AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.
Preventive care (sometimes called “preventative care”) is routine health care that helps prevent illness, disease and other health problems. It can help you stay healthy and find out early if you are at risk for developing a health problem. It could even save your life.
Many screenings and tests are covered at no extra cost to you as part of your health plan. This means that these services don’t require you to meet your deductible or satisfy copays before they are covered.
To help ensure you don’t get billed for covered preventive care, remember that the service must be:
- Provided at an in-network doctor or facility (urgent care, outpatient clinic or ambulatory surgery center)
- Filed by your provider as a preventive care visit
- Identified as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
What Types Of Services Qualify As Preventive Care?
Here is a list of some of the most common preventive care services:
- Cancer screenings.
Screenings can help find cancer before symptoms appear. This is important because most cancers are easier to treat and cure when found early.
Many cancer screenings are covered at no expense to you, including colon cancer and lung cancer screenings. For women, breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings are also covered.
Not everyone needs these screenings. Talk to your doctor about whether these tests are important for you based on your age and risk factors.
- Cholesterol tests.
Cholesterol tests are recommended for adults age 40 to 70 who are overweight or obese. While high cholesterol often doesn’t cause symptoms, it can put you at risk for heart attacks and other forms of heart disease. A simple blood test can help you stay on top of any cardiovascular risk.
- Nutrition counseling.
Adults who are overweight or obese with heart health risk factors have access to healthy diet counseling.
Preventive care includes four treatments provided by a physician and unlimited nutritional counseling visits with a licensed dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional counseling is also provided to kids and teens who meet the criteria.
Vaccines save millions of lives each year.
That’s why the recommended vaccines for men, women and children are covered at no additional cost to you. This includes your annual flu shot.
Most health plans also cover COVID-19 vaccines and boosters that are FDA approved, including for emergency use authorization (EUA), at no cost for all members, both during the public health emergency and after.
While COVID-19 continues to dominate the news cycle, it’s important to get vaccinated and get your children vaccinated against other serious illnesses, too.
- Support for quitting tobacco.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner your body can start to heal. You will feel better and have more energy to be active with your family and friends.
- Women’s contraception.
Women have access to education and counseling around pregnancy prevention at no extra cost. All FDA approved contraceptive methods, including IUDs, generic oral contraceptives, patches and other FDA approved forms of birth control, are covered.
These resources are also available to female adolescents who are sexually active or thinking about becoming sexually active.
- Well-baby and well-child visits.
Well-child and well-baby visits are visits that provide preventive services that are age and developmentally appropriate. These visits are a time for parents to check up on their child’s health, stay up to date on recommended vaccines, and track their child’s growth and development.
- Depression screenings.
Millions of people around the world experience depression. Screenings can help diagnose depression in adults and adolescents aged 12 to 18. It can be the first step toward finding a treatment plan that will help you feel better.
In a depression screening, your doctor will ask you questions about your feelings and behaviors. Your doctor might also ask you to fill out a survey about these issues.
- Breastfeeding support.
Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth have access to breastfeeding support at no extra cost. This includes counseling with a lactation specialist through in-network providers. It also includes one manual or electric breast pump.
- Sexual health screenings.
Various sexual health tests and screenings are available to adolescents, teens and adults. This includes screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including, but not limited to, chlamydia, HIV and syphilis. Different screenings are recommended depending on age and risk factors.
Sexually active adolescents and teens also have access to counseling to prevent STIs.
For a full list of qualified preventive care services, you can visit Healthcare.gov.
Preventive care services are covered to encourage you to identify and treat potential health issues before they become major (and expensive) problems. Don’t let disease sneak up on you! Take advantage of the preventive care benefits included in your plan.