The importance of preventive care

Yearly preventive exams are an important way for you to get healthy or stay healthy — both physically and mentally. Preventive care is what you do to avoid problems or detect issues before you get sick, in the treatable early stages. Immunizations, annual checkups, and age-appropriate tests and screenings are examples of preventive care. Even your flu shot counts. When you’re at a preventive care appointment, your doctor might ask about your habits, your home life, your medical history. They may want to know how you manage stress. They might take your blood pressure, your weight, and ask about vaccinations. And you might have questions, too. What does a balanced diet look like (and what, exactly, are omega 3 fatty acids? Or trans fats? Or saturated fats)? Are you at a healthy body weight? Before you go in, make a list. What health concerns are you Googling late at night (what are your worries)?

The information you learn at a preventive appointment may help you get closer to achieving optimal health and wellness — mind and body. It can help you stay one step ahead of potential issues.

With most health plans, annual preventive care is offered at no additional cost when you use an in-network provider. And as part of that preventive care, there are numerous age-appropriate tests and screenings.

See which wellness screenings, tests, and immunizations are covered and recommended for your next preventive care visit:

Preventive care is only covered when your provider looks for new health concerns as part of a screening. You may be billed for an office visit if you talk with your provider about other conditions or concerns at a preventive care visit. That’s not preventive care, then, but diagnostic care.

Breast cancer screening

Mammograms and 3D mammograms are X-ray pictures of the breasts.

It is recommended that screening is completed every two years for women ages 50-74 years. You may prefer to begin screening between ages 40-49; talk with your doctor about how often and when you need this screening, especially if you have a family or personal history of breast cancer.

In-network mammograms are offered at $0 cost to you. If you also have a doctor's visit with the mammogram, you will pay the cost for the office visit. You can find this price on the Surest app or website. Simply search for your doctor's name.

Cervical health

Cervical cancer screening checks the cells on the cervix — which is the lower part of the uterus — for changes that could lead to cancer. These tests may be used alone or together.

Pap test looks for changes in the cells of the cervix.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) test looks for the HPV virus that can cause changes in the cells.

This screening should be done every three to five years between ages 21 and 65 years. Talk with your doctor about how often you need this test. Learn how Surest covers cancer screening and care.

For women age 26 and younger who haven’t already had an HPV vaccine, talk to your doctor about the importance of this vaccine to protect you from an HPV infection.

Your cost for routine cervical cancer screening and the HPV vaccine is $0. Your cost for the office visit can be found on the Surest app or website. Simply search for your doctor's name.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing

There are at least 20 different STIs including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

National health recommendations state that women younger than 25 years should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea if they are sexually active. Starting at age 25, women should be screened for these infections if they are high-risk, such as having multiple partners. HIV screening should be done at least once during ages 15-65, for those who are pregnant, and those at high risk, such as having multiple partners. Talk to your doctor about what screenings are appropriate for you.

Your cost for testing for STIs is $0. The cost for the office visit can be found on the Surest app or website.

Osteoporosis screening

DXA scan, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, is a test that measures bone thickness to see if your bones are becoming thin and brittle.

DXA screening is for women aged 65 and older, but if you have risk factors your doctor may recommend you get a scan sooner. Talk with your doctor about how often you need this screening.

Your cost for osteoporosis screening is $0. You may have a cost for the office visit, which can be found on the Surest app or website. Simply search your doctor's name.

Preventive care is a way to stay proactive about your health — like an oil change for your body to help it run smoothly for as long as possible.

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