When you’re sick or in pain, you can’t help but think about your health. But when you feel good, you might not think about healthcare. You might even skip your annual checkup.
But getting preventive care — including a regular exam with a primary care doctor — is like making an investment in your health and wellbeing. You may not think you need it now, but ignoring it can be costly down the road.
Your primary care doctor
Research shows that a positive, consistent relationship with a primary care doctor is one of the best indicators of good health.
Your primary care doctor is familiar with your long-term health history. They can help you access specialty care when you need it and even coordinate your care across multiple departments.
Additionally, they have a 360º view of your total health. As a result, they’ll be able to address warning signs or early symptoms of conditions like diabetes or heart disease and help you prevent chronic illnesses or other serious health problems.
Preventive care screenings
By law, most health plans must cover preventive care tests and screenings. These include well-being exams, immunizations, and care for healthy pregnancies.
Click here for Healthcare.gov’s list of preventive care services for adults that may be available to you for free under your health plan.
Remember that, due to different plan designs, it’s possible not all of those listed will be covered at 100%. Check your specific health plan for a list of covered preventive services.
Chronic conditions: the numbers
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that “half of all American adults have at least one chronic condition, and almost 1 in 3 has multiple chronic conditions.” Furthermore, they write that chronic diseases “are responsible for 7 in 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s health care costs.”
Those are staggering numbers. Most noteworthy is the fact that many serious conditions have no apparent symptoms until they turn into bigger problems.
That’s why regular screenings are so important, even when you’re feeling great. Also, remember that mental health issues are considered chronic conditions. Many plans are required to provide those screenings for adults and children free of charge.
Speak to your doctor about what preventive care schedule is right for you. It’s the best way to stay healthy well into the future.