National Consumers League

Preventive care benefits: Your health plan’s best kept secret


To those who may question the necessity of health insurance, I have two words for you: Preventive care. Seven out of ten deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. Preventive health services like physicals, immunizations and other screenings can help find health problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are better, or even prevent health problems before they start. 

Preventive health services are covered under all health insurance plans with no additional out-of-pocket costs when provided by in-network providers. Your health insurance plan may cover even more services that cost you nothing – to find out more, be sure to contact your health plan.

Unfortunately, many consumers with health insurance don’t take advantage of these services – simply because they don’t know their insurance covers it.  That’s a problem we’re working hard to resolve.

Below we list some of the preventive care benefits available through your health plan: 

For adults:

Immunizations (Vaccines)

It is important for adults to stay up to date on their immunizations.  They can save your life and save your health.  Through your health plan, vaccines for diseases such as chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, hepatitis A & B, and the flu are all covered. 

Depression screenings

Too many people suffer from mental health conditions, such as depression, and the consequences can be devastating on individuals and families alike. Taking a depression screening is one of the most efficient and effective ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of depression and get you on the path to treatment. Depression screenings are fully covered by your health plan. 

Cancer screenings

Nearly everyone has felt the impact of cancer – either themselves or a friend or loved one.  Screenings are one of the most powerful weapons against cancer. When many cancers are found early, chances of survival increase exponentially. Important preventive cancer screenings include cervical cancer screening, breast cancer mammography screening, and colorectal cancer screening. Lung cancer screening is also covered for adults aged 55-80 who are current smokers or have quit smoking in the last 15 years. 

For women:

Well-woman visits

Well-woman visits are key to women’s health and help identify health concerns before they become life-threatening. These visits usually include your annual physical examination, as well as any necessary screenings (such as pap tests, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings), evaluations, counseling, and immunizations based on your age and risk factors. 

Services for pregnant women or women who may become pregnant

In addition to the preventive services available to all women, there is also a list of services available for mothers-to-be. Breastfeeding support and counseling, gestational diabetes screenings, anemia screenings, and even folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant are all covered under your health plan – at no additional cost to you. 

For children:

Autism screenings

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children are screened for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. This type of screening can quickly identify children with developmental and behavioral challenges when early treatment may be most effective. 

Vision screenings

Good vision is essential to a child’s development, success, and overall well-being. Their vision should be checked when they are first born, while they are a baby, and through their preschool and school years. If problems with a child’s vision are not detected early, their vision may become limited in ways that cannot be rectified later in life. And it can also affect school performance and learning.  But with early detection, it is usually possible to treat vision problems effectively. Thankfully, vision screenings for all children are covered through your health plan. 

Be on the lookout for new resources from the National Consumers League (NCL) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) to help consumers get the most out of their health insurance benefits.