Are you making the most of your health insurance plan? If you're only visiting the doctor for a regular check-up every now and then, you might be missing out. When you enroll in health insurance, you could be unlocking some major benefits.
Better yet, many of these benefits can come at no cost to you at all.
If you have health insurance, you should have access to free preventative care. This can include annual screenings and checkups. Taking advantage of these screenings can help keep you safe from serious diseases and conditions—keeping you healthy all year round. These vital screenings can even cost hundreds of dollars a year.
Type 2 Diabetes screening (for overweight adults between the ages of 40 and 70)
Blood pressure screening
Hepatitis B and C screening
Colorectal cancer screening (for adults over 50)
Breast cancer mammograms
Lung cancer screening (for adults at high risk)
Alcohol abuse screening and counseling
Diet counseling (for adults with a high risk for heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity)
Depression and anxiety screening
These screenings can help you stay up to date on your health, seek treatment for mental illness, recover from serious addictions, and even help you move towards healthier diet and lifestyle habits. Be sure to talk with your primary care physician to find out which of these would be the right choice for you.
In addition to preventative screenings, you can get routine vaccines to keep yourself protected. Depending on your age, gender, and demographics, different vaccines might be right for you. These vaccines can help keep you safe from diseases from Hepatitis A to the common flue. Here are some typical vaccines that are recommended by the Center for Disease Control:
Influenza (flu shot)
Many of these vaccines can cost up to $100 each. Be sure to consult with your primary care physician to assess which vaccinations you’ve already had and which ones you need.
While everybody needs vital health services, women have specific health needs that can be covered by your health insurance.
Health insurance plans can cover necessities for women’s health like breast cancer mammography screenings, cervical cancer screenings, pap smears, and HIV screenings. With certain plans, you can even receive free contraception. This can include birth control pills, IUDs, implants, injections, and patches.
For women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, health insurance plans can cover folic acid supplements, gestational diabetes screenings, prenatal tests, and more. Pregnant and nursing women can also receive support and counseling for breastfeeding and new motherhood. Finally, health insurance plans can cover mental health services for women specifically. If you need support for domestic violence, interpersonal violence, or sexual assault, your health insurance can cover immediate treatment, examinations, recovery, and counseling.
Services for children under the age of 18 are also covered by health insurance plans. For babies and young children, your primary care doctor can provide height, weight, mobility, speech, and development screenings. Throughout their adolescent years, regular checkups can ensure that your child is hitting the right checkpoints in terms of physical and emotional development.
In addition, any disabilities or health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart conditions, or chronic illnesses can be diagnosed as soon as possible so your doctor can create a treatment plan.
As your child becomes older, many plans can offer behavioral assessments, including support for alcohol and drug use. For teenagers, this kind of emotional support can be just as important as physical check ups.
Some plans also offer screenings for developmental disabilities or mental illness like autism, depression, and anxiety. This treatment plan can include medication, group counseling, and one-on-one therapy.
Whether it’s a procedure, screening, check-up, or counseling, these free services can help prevent serious health problems. You can detect illness early and keep yourself on the right track. In order to cash in these services—without any cost to you—bring your insurance card to a doctor or provider in your plan’s network.
To check which services your health care plan can offer you for free, take a look at your health insurance website. You can also find a provider directory for a list of the doctors, hospitals, and other care providers that your plan works with.
Depending on the health insurance plan you have, you’ll be getting different services at the doctor’s office. But most health insurance companies offer additional benefits—some that you might not even know about.
No matter your income level, you deserve vital services that you can afford—or even get for free. Whether you need special care for a long-term illness or you just want to keep your health in top shape, don’t forget to take advantage of these free services at your local health care provider. Take a look at the website or call the member services card on the back of your health insurance card to learn more about the specific benefits your plan can offer you.