They say that the best things in life are free. And when it comes to healthcare, that’s no exception. If you haven’t heard, preventive care is free – as in, covered by your insurance. And since we’ve already used one adage, let’s use another: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well this time there is. Preventive care really is free, because your insurance company doesn’t want you to get sicker and have extortionately high claims. Makes sense, right? In terms of healthcare, what’s good for your insurance company is often good for you – not being sick. As always, it’s good to check with your insurance company before you get anything done to make sure that everything is within your network and is specifically covered.
With that in mind, we thought it pertinent to look at the most important preventive services that you can get. Even though we’d all love to take advantage of each free service, there’s only so much time in a day, and some services are more important than others. Very important, in fact. If you don’t get these things done, it could cost you much more than the extra cash.
- Flu Shot – your immune system isn’t always capable of handling the flu each year. Different flu strains change and you’ve got to get vaccinated for the right one. If you don’t you could be setting yourself up for a few weeks of feeling nasty (yes, stomach stuff). Last year the CDC (center for disease control) estimated that vaccines prevented over 5 million illnesses and over 71,000 hospitalizations. That’s crazy when you consider how much that would cost you, your company, and your insurance provider.
- Colonoscopy – this one isn’t so fun. The typical recommendation is that everybody goes in for a colonoscopy at about age 50. And while it’s not fun to prepare for or have a colonoscopy, the results are worthwhile. Colorectal cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. Prevention and screening is pretty straight forward as well, as it usually takes about 10-15 years for the polyps (the abnormal growth) to turn into cancer.
- Mammogram – Unfortunately, we’re up for another screening that isn’t very fun. But mammograms are, simply put, the best way of detecting breast cancer early on. Just checking for lumps isn’t enough according to the American Cancer Society. The society also states that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. Those are scary odds and well worth the checkup.
Even though you may not love dealing with your insurance company, they do offer some pretty nice freebies every now and again. And if you’re less concerned about the money, just think about how much you don’t want to get cancer. The tests are free, go out and get them.
Check out our list below of services made free by the Affordable Care Act:
COVERED SERVICES – FOR MEN AND WOMEN:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for people who smoke or who have smoked
Alcohol abuse screenings and counseling
Aspirin use in men and women
Blood pressure screenings in adults
Cholesterol screenings for adults in certain age ranges or at high risk
Colorectal cancer screenings for men and women over 50
Depression screenings in adults
Diet counseling for those who are at high risk for chronic conditions
HIV screenings for adults at high risk
Immunizations for adults:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
Obesity screenings and counseling
STI (sexually transmitted infections) prevention counseling