What do I Need to know about preventive health?

Preventive Health care is about protecting your health and financial security now and in the future.  Preventive health care services can include immunizations, screening tests, annual visits, or other interventions (such as smoking cessation or weight reduction programs) that can help you avoid getting sick or developing chronic conditions.

Q:  Why is Preventive Health Important?

A: The CDC reports that half of all Americans live with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. These chronic conditions are not only the leading cause of death in the United States, but are leading drivers of health care costs. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can improve your quality of life over the long-term and reduce your odds of getting a chronic condition.

Q: What are some examples of preventive health?

A: There are opportunities every day for you to engage in preventive health.  Exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep are all important components of preventive health.  Healthy behaviors (e.g., avoiding excessive drinking, quitting smoking) can also have huge impacts on your health care.

Other preventive health practices may require you to visit your doctor.  Based on your age, gender, and other qualifying criteria, they may recommend you receive specific immunizations (flu shot, HPV Vaccine, Shingles Vaccine, Meningitis Vaccine, etc.).  This same information will be used to determine appropriate screenings for you (e.g., blood pressure, blood sugar, cancer, depression, sexually transmitted diseases, osteoporosis, etc.).

Q:  How do I know what preventive health screenings I should be receiving?

A: Covered preventive services are determined by four expert medical and scientific bodies – the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) Bright Futures Project, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and HRSA and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee on women’s clinical preventive services. To figure out which preventive health care services are recommended for you or a loved one, visit Healthfinder.gov.

Q:  Are preventive health services covered by my insurance?

A: Most health plans cover a set of preventive services at zero cost to you when delivered by a doctor or provider that is in your plan’s network. Increasingly, employers are also offering workplace wellness programs for employees such as on-site exercise facilities, flu vaccines, and dietary counseling.