Health Insurance Perks: Take Advantage of Free Preventive Services
As a doctor, wellness and nutrition have always been a priority for my family and myself because I’m well aware of the statistics.
One example is obesity, which affects our health in many ways. Just think, in the past 30 years obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, more than two-thirds of adults are overweight.
In many respects, your health is one of the few things in life you have control of — it’s up to you to make healthy lifestyle decisions and keep up with recommended screenings. After all, if you don’t know it’s broken, you can’t fix it.
Thankfully, many of these important preventive services are now part of plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act — some at no cost to you. Just a few examples include:
- Yearly wellness visits
- Cholesterol and blood pressure checks
- Diabetes screenings
- Colorectal screenings
These types of benefits just add to the reasons why health insurance is important to the average American — besides the fact that unexpected emergencies can be expensive without insurance to share the cost.
If you’re not insured, now is the time to take a look at coverage options. Open enrollment for individual and family plans begins Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31. This is the time that you can enroll with a plan on the federal Marketplace — healthcare.gov — or go directly through a plan provider like Avera Health Plans. After Jan. 31, your only avenue for getting insurance will be if you have a qualifying event, like loss of a job, marriage or having a child.
Also thanks to the ACA, you can’t be turned down for coverage, based on a pre-existing condition.
Cost is a common concern I hear from people who don’t have insurance. I always urge people to shop around anyway because the cost might surprise them. Tax credits and cost-share reductions are available to help with the cost of premiums and sometimes even co-pays and coinsurance. To find out if you are eligible, go to healthcare.gov and answer a few questions.
No matter the avenue, the benefits of health insurance are evident. You’re covered in case of often costly accidents or unexpected medical conditions — think pregnancy or broken leg. And you’ll avoid the fine for not carrying insurance, which continues to increase.
So, the question is, do you want to pay a fine for nothing, or pay for a plan and get something out of it? The answer seems clear to me.