Free Healthcare Waiting For You
According to a recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, less than half of those surveyed knew about free preventive services that are included in all medical insurance policies. And in my experience as a health benefits advisor, even those employees who know about free preventive care don't use it very often. You could argue these services aren't free because you're already paying for them in your premiums. Regardless – why aren't you taking advantage?
What's free? There are 15 services for adults, 22 for women and 26 for children. (See the full list below in my Resources section.) You can take advantage of most of these preventive services when you go in for a yearly physical or an annual OB/GYN visit. Highlights include:
Immunizations and well-baby visits for children Contraception Screenings for breast and cervical cancers Select screenings for pregnant women Blood pressure, cholesterol screening and immunizations for all adults
Why use it? Many carriers were already providing various preventive services for free before the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory. That's because they know it saves them money in the long run to catch health issues earlier and prevent them in the first place. For example, according to the American Cancer Society, melanoma – the deadliest kind of skin cancer – is almost always curable when caught in the early stages.
So what's stopping you? Invest a little time in understanding what preventive services you can receive, and you'll be well rewarded.
The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a highly detailed Preventive Services chart that explains what is covered, for whom (age/gender) and how often. http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/report/preventive-services-tracker/ From the Department of Health and Human Services is a more basic list of services (less detailed but a quicker read.)
Chris Van Buren is a partner at Embrook Benefits & HR Services, which helps small and mid-sized companies to select and administer the ideal employee benefits plans for their businesses, in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
Embrook is an independent broker of group insurance, wellness programs, administration services and integrated HR, benefit and payroll systems.