Prevent illness and avoid bills by utilizing your health insurance

Take advantage of free preventive services provided by your health insurance plan to save money in the long run.

You can use your health insurance to help prevent some illnesses and, therefore, avoid extra bills. The Affordable Care Act includes 10 essential health benefits that must be provided by all new health plans. Among these benefits are preventive services, some of which must be provided without charge to the patient. In other words, these services are paid by the insurance plan without being charged a copayment or coinsurance.  

Preventive services include services such as shots or screening tests. To ensure they are free, you must obtain the services from a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network.  

There are three sets of preventive services:  preventive for all adults, for women and for children. These are outlined below. 

The services for adults include things like blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or for those at higher risk, colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50, diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure, and immunization vaccines for adults. The doses, recommended ages and recommended populations vary.

Services for women include folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant, anemia screening, contraception, urinary tract or other infection screening, breast cancer mammography screenings every one to two years for women over 40, cervical cancer screening and other services. 

Services for children include behavioral assessment screening, developmental screening for children under age three, fluoride supplements for children without fluoride in their water supply, blood pressure screening, lead screening for children at risk of exposure, and immunization vaccines for children from birth to age 18. The doses, recommended ages and recommended populations vary. 

Take time to learn what free services are provided by your health insurance plan. Learn more from resources available from Michigan State University Extension and MIMoneyHealth.org.

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