It’s true. If your health insurance plan’s coverage took place after March 23, 2010 and it’s a qualified health plan, then it has to cover a certain amount of checkups, screenings, and patient counseling that prevent illnesses and diseases. These offerings are also known as preventive services.
In short, this means that you don’t have to pay anything for this care, whether you’ve met your yearly deductible or not. Keep in mind that short-term medical plans don’t have to offer these free preventive services.
Step 1: Get more details about the health screenings
Yes, the health screenings are free, but things related to your visit may not be free. Getting the details of these screenings beforehand will help you avoid any unexpected costs.
Make sure your health insurance plan covers any lab tests by getting in contact with their customer service and asking what labs they cover. Then, when you see your doctor, tell them to send any tests to those specific labs that are covered by your insurance network. This way, your services will be covered by your plan, and you won’t have to pay out of pocket.
Step 2: Choose a service(s)
There are six standard preventive care services that health insurance plans must cover for all adults.
Blood pressure screening
Obesity screening and counseling
Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
Tobacco use screening and counseling
Adult Immunizations (Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Shingles, flu shot, varicella, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, mumps, measles, rubella, pneumococcal, meningococcal, and human papillomavirus)
If you belong to a select group or have a uterus and/or breasts, then you also have access to additional preventive care as services. We’ll do a comprehensive overview of these services in following posts.
Step 3: Go to the doctor
Not taking advantage of these free preventive services is like throwing money away. You already pay for your health insurance plan, so you might as well get your money’s worth. And if there are fees related to your visits, try to do multiple screenings during one trip. Doing that will save you money and time.
If your plan’s coverage started before the Affordable Care Act took effect and you want access to all of these preventive care services, then maybe it’s time you started shopping around for a different health provider. Luckily, your health plans renew annually and you can change your plan starting November 1st during Open Enrollment. You might end up saving money, like our client Michaela did when she changed her health plan.
Let us know if this article was helpful either through Twitter (@impacthealthio) or by dropping a comment below. We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have!