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Minimize health risks and treatment costs with preventive services

Minimize health risks and treatment costs with preventive services

Preventive care shifts the focus of medical care from treating the symptoms of illness and disease to avoiding illnesses while promoting good health.

Services like annual physicals, immunizations, medication management and any other benefits that help prevent illness, injury and premature death are all considered preventive care.

According to research from 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. Additional research shows an increased use of preventive health services results in less exposure to long-term illnesses that can be prevented.

“Early detection is key,” said Tracy Cornatzer, sales manager for Virginia Farm Bureau’s Health Insurance division.

“If you’re taking care of your preventive visits, you may catch an illness early, which is beneficial health-wise and can be helpful in terms of cost. Don’t put off these services, because they could truly help if there’s something your doctor can catch in its early stages and can be treated.”

Most health insurance plans cover preventive care services in full, leaving no cost for subscribers. For many services, there is no copay, coinsurance, deductible or out-of-pocket expenses.

In addition to no costs associated with visits, preventive care also can help lower the cost of managing illnesses, because most diseases are more treatable in the early stages.

An annual preventive care plan should include bloodwork and a physical with your primary care physician. For women, a yearly visit with a gynecologist is recommended. Wellness visits also are covered for infants and children. 

Please check your health insurance policy for the frequency of covered routine services, as they vary by age.

Preventive care shouldn’t end with your physician. Regular visits to dentists and optometrists also can help reveal illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Most dental and vision insurance plans cover an annual eye exam and two dental exams and cleanings per year.

“Your optometrist can catch macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, and a checkup for the health of your teeth can reveal illnesses like throat cancer and oral cancer,” Cornatzer said. “It’s very important to stay on top of these visits, because there are many conditions that can be detected.”