January 25, 2024


Preventive services play a key role in our health, cutting off health problems early before they can progress and create more serious concerns. Even when we feel healthy, regular checkups help avoid future problems. But how does it all work? Here is what you need to know to safeguard your health with preventive services.

What exactly is preventive health care?

Preventive health encompasses all health services meant to identify health issues before symptoms develop. Adult preventive health care typically includes screenings for conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as counseling for smoking cessation and balanced eating habits. Note: your family health history impacts preventive care. Your preventive care measures will align with your personal risk factors.

Why do preventive services matter?

As we just mentioned, the primary purpose of preventive care is in the name — prevention. Regular screenings and immunizations decrease the risk of illness and increase the chances for an early diagnosis. Need more convincing? Here are some of the benefits:

  • Reduced risk of complications
  • Lower life-time health care costs
  • Decreased risk of chronic conditions
  • Enhanced quality of life

How much is it going to cost me?

The good news is all marketplace health plans, and most other plans must cover preventive services without charging a copayment or co-insurance.  And this is true even before hitting your deductible. However, these services are only free of charge if delivered by an in-network provider.

Identify an accessible provider within your network. Don’t know where to start? Check out this quick article on how to navigate your provider search.

The basics of adult preventive care

Preventive care for adults focuses on screening for the most common chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. It also provides immunizations against prevalent illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. Here are the most common preventive screenings for adults:

  • Cancer Screenings: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer
  • Screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes
  • Immunizations: Not just for kids! Stay on top of your vital vaccines
  • Counseling:Preventive counseling may be available to help manage a chronic condition and make healthier lifestyle choices

The basics of child preventive care

Preventive services for children help to protect them from the most common illnesses they face as they develop. This care lays the foundation for staying healthy throughout their lives. Here are the most common preventive services for children:

Well-child visits:

These visits happen every few months when a child is an infant, and yearly after that. Well-child visits include measurements of a child’s growth and developmental milestones. These visits include routine immunizations and screenings.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations for children protect them from serious diseases now and in the future. Routine childhood vaccines include polio, hepatitis A and B, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and chickenpox (varicella).

Behavioral and mental health screenings: Pediatricians routinely screen children for conditions like autism, depression, and developmental delays.

Blood tests: Various blood test screenings are conducted throughout childhood, including tests that measure a newborn’s bilirubin levels, tests that look for signs of anemia, and tests that measure the amount of lead in a child’s blood.

The bottom line

Medical experts recommend that all adults and children participate in routine tests, screenings and immunizations. With just a few preventive care visits to your primary care provider, you can decrease your risk, save some cash and experience a higher quality of life.

If there are any questions about preventive care or what screenings you or a family member should receive, be sure to talk with a doctor or healthcare professional.