Preventive care consists of measures taken to prevent illnesses rather than cure them or treat their symptoms. Most health insurance plans include coverage of preventive care, which benefits both the consumer and health insurance companies through early detection and reduced health care spending. Significant research demonstrates that increased use of effective preventive services results in less suffering from illnesses that could have been prevented had they been detected and treated early. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven out of 10 Americans die each year from chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. Medical services such as immunizations, screening tests, medications and any other services that prevent disease, injury and premature death fall under the umbrella of preventive care. “The purpose of preventive care is to shift the focus of health care from treating sickness to maintaining wellness and good health,” explained Tracy Cornatzer, sales manager for Virginia Farm Bureau’s health insurance division. “By taking advantage of regular preventive care services you can stay healthier and get more effective treatment and pay less for medical expenses.” Preventive care saves money in two ways: It helps lower the long-term cost of managing disease, because it helps catch problems in the early stages, when most diseases are more treatable. The cost of early treatment or a diet or lifestyle change is less than that of treating and managing a full-blown chronic disease or serious illness. Many preventive services are covered in full, which means there is no cost when using your insurance plan. For many of these services you will not have a deductible, co-pay, co-insurance or other out-of-pocket expenses. Part of preventive care is seeing your doctor for an annual checkup and bloodwork. For women, this also should include a yearly visit with a gynecologist. Well visits also are covered for infants and children.