It’s no secret that healthcare in the United States is expensive. In fact, the U.S. spends more than twice as much on healthcare than any other developed country. There are several reasons for this, but the long and short of it is a system that causes people to put off preventative care due to fear of financial hardship brought on by medical costs. Even with insurance, the cost of checkups, subsequent diagnoses, and follow-ups can cause people to put off getting checked altogether.
Despite this, the fact remains that preventative maintenance is almost always the safest bet in terms of long-term health and wellness. Not only does this practice keep people healthier, it also keeps healthcare costs down in the long term. In the same way that it’s better for your car to change the oil than it is to replace engine parts, it’s better to keep your body healthy than it is to receive expensive and risky specialized treatment.
Because this is such a beneficial practice, many preventative checkups are covered by insurance, despite fears that even checkups are costly. Having these checkups can provide consultations with your doctor on lifestyle changes you can make in order to keep health hazards at bay. If you don’t follow these measures, or you don’t prioritize preventive checkups, the cost of waiting can be huge.
Many Preventative Checkups are Covered
Insurance companies are required to cover your preventative care. Costs for easy fixes and preventative medicine are much lower than costs to cover specialized treatments, procedures, and surgeries. It’s best to take advantage of preventative health services for your financial health and physical health.
Not only should these preventative checkups cover general health issues related to age, gender, or lifestyle, but they should also coincide with your preexisting conditions. Child wellness checkups are common, but adults also need to prioritize their own wellness checkups. These checkups can manage, reverse, or catch serious complications early on. Preventative checkups are still preferable to specialized treatment mainly because it lowers a patient’s costs, but also increases their chances of living a long, healthy life.
Reversing Your Path With Lifestyle Changes
A preexisting condition is not a death sentence in terms of health or in terms of finances. Insurance plans can’t reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential healthcare because of a condition you had before your coverage started. Visiting your doctor often in regards to your health concerns can help to reverse your path for some health problems. This type of consultation can give you the knowledge you need to make a lifestyle change. For instance, a disease like GERD may be treatable with food and drink lifestyle changes, so that a patient doesn’t have to undergo expensive surgery.
Many health risks associated with poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, or drug and alcohol abuse can be reversed with a lifestyle change if it’s caught early enough. This is why regular checkups are important. In many of these cases, diseases as a result of poor lifestyle decisions can be fatal—but they can be reversed if followed up on and taken care of early and with consistency. You’ll help your own healthcare costs and overall health by keeping an eye on preexisting conditions and harmful lifestyle choices.
The Cost of Waiting
The cost of waiting for treatment instead of undergoing preventative measures can be extreme. Not only can the cost be death in extreme cases, it can also mean severe medical debt. What happens to your hospital bills after insurance covers their portion may vary depending on other variables such as the state you live in, government assistance, and your specific coverage. Generally, everything they don’t cover is up to you to pay. This can lead to credit issues, financial strain, or even bankruptcy. When the alternative is to attend regular checkups, get preventative treatment, and prioritize a healthy lifestyle, it’s clear that prevention is the smarter choice.
Sometimes medical problems happen. Whether they are related to genetics, lifestyle choices, or the unknown, sometimes they happen to the healthiest people. Preventative medicine and early screenings have saved countless lives. Sometimes early detection and preventative measures aren’t enough, but it’s better to take these steps, even if you’re healthy.
A List of Preventative Checkups
There are quite of few different preventive health checkups you can get, and they can depend on your age, biological sex, and family history—these factors may play into whether your insurance will cover them or not, as well. It’s important to pay attention to which preventative checkups apply to you or your family. However, check with your insurance to be sure your specific preventative checkup is covered.
- General checkup/physical: This checkup will focus on your general health with your primary provider. They may be able to recommend certain lifestyle changes or preventative measures to take that are directly related to your health history.
- Vaccinations: Vaccinations for children and adults help to prevent many diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B, MMR, measles, HPV, etc. Many at-risk groups benefit from this preventative treatment.
- Pap: A pap smear is a procedure that tests for cervical cancer in women every three years. This exam focuses on early detection.
- Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast to look for early signs of breast cancer. Women starting at age 45 to 50 should get one every 1-2 years depending on their doctor’s recommendation.
- Prostate exam: A prostate exam looks for prostate cancer in men starting at age 50 and should be repeated every four years.
- Vision: Many insurance coverage options cover one vision checkup each year. Not only is your vision important to keep up on in order to prevent eye strain and other vision issues, it’s also important for children who may or may not be exhibiting vision problems. Attending checkups each year will ensure your child’s vision problems don’t go undetected.
- Dental: Just like vision coverage, dental coverage is often available once a year. Keeping up on preventative treatment for your teeth is so important so that you don’t delay treatment until it becomes expensive. Too often a child’s dental checkup is overlooked, so be sure to take advantage of this preventative medicine.
- High-risk screenings: Each person’s risk for health concerns will dictate many of these preventative treatments. For instance, if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family, you may be recommended to check for it earlier and more often. In addition to that, there are plenty of other preventative tests and treatments that may apply to your needs that aren’t on this list. For example, you might need a diabetes screening if you’re overweight, or you might need frequent STD screenings if you’re sexually active with multiple partners.
When considering overall health and wellness, the goal should always be related to long-term health. Thankfully, preventative checkups provide that by finding problems before they start, or early on. Not only that, but they tend to be visits that are covered and more affordable that the alternative. Preventative medicine is still preferable because the costs are lower and the results can save lives. It’s always important to check what’s covered by your insurance, discuss your preventative treatment plan with your doctor, and prioritize preventative checkups for the whole family.
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