Don't Fall Behind: Take Stock of Your Health
Now that the kids are off to school and their annual checkups are out of the way, it’s time to think about yourself.
Fall is a great time to reassess your health and get caught up on checkups and screenings and other necessary tests that you might have put off. By now, your deductible is probably met and you may even have flexible spending account dollars to burn before the year’s end.
“Adults need to keep up with their health and wellness just as much as children, and fall is the perfect time to check in with your provider to make sure you’re up to date on all your preventive screenings,” said Tad Jacobs, DO, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group. “If you make the most of your plan you can minimize your out-of-pocket costs.”
Your plan of action depends on a number of things such as your age, gender and health history.
Logging into AveraChart, Avera’s online portal to your medical record, is a great way to keep track of your health maintenance needs.
Use Your Benefits
The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover preventive health care screenings.
“This time of year, using the benefits you have for preventive health is critical,” said Preston Renshaw, MD, Chief Medical Officer with Avera Health Plans. “With most plans today, that’s all covered, and so it’s to your advantage to get the best use of your dollars you spend in premiums.”
In many cases you can get your yearly checkup, breast screening, colon screenings and a number of other things checked with no co-pay or deductible. “Adult immunizations are often overlooked, but the fall is a great opportunity to get caught up,” Jacobs said.
Tetanus shots are needed every 10 years, and people age 60 and older should consider pneumonia and shingles vaccines. Fall is a great time to get your annual flu vaccine, especially if you are at higher risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccines for anyone over 6 months of age. People at higher risk for flu complications include those over age 65, those with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and young children under age 5.