Preventive care is a component of wellness and serves as a mechanism to utilize healthcare services and screenings to help prevent or avoid the onset of chronic disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) or to counsel and screen for certain health conditions. These conditions may affect:
- adults (colorectal cancer, obesity, sexually transmitted disease),
- men (prostate cancer, alcohol misuse, aortic aneurysm),
- women (contraception, mammography cervical and vaginal cancer) and
- children (obesity, depression, developmental and behavioral screenings).
Preventive services are benefits offered by all health insurers regardless of whether they are private or Federal. As with any health insurance benefit, coverage will vary by insurer and certain limitations may apply.
- Private insurers (e.g., Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, etc.) offer preventive care services; however, check with your insurer to determine their covered service offerings and requirements.
- Medicare offers preventive care services to its Part B beneficiaries including screenings for depression, diabetes, glaucoma and more. http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html
- The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, ensures that all Americans have health insurance and offers several preventive care services for its marketplace customers. https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-benefits/adults/
Preventive care can be managed by individuals on their own (e.g., physical activity, nutritional management, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) as well as in conjunction with help from the healthcare community. As Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
By helping to offset or avoid disease through prevention, healthcare costs can also be contained and/or reduced for an aging population. Particularly for conditions that may be preventable.
Whether your motivation is to stop smoking, offset cancer or the risk of a chronic disease, to identify services to benefit aging parents, to avoid childhood obesity, or to simply age gracefully, preventive health services and screenings may be worth investigating for you and your loved ones.