What Counts as Preventive Care?

When obtained from a medical professional, preventive care can help protect the health of a patient and lead to reduced costs on future medical payments. Preventive health services are designed to help you avoid health emergencies. 

This approach can be applied across a wide range of medical conditions, from someone dealing with allergies to routine orthodontic and dental care. Preventive services may also contribute to a better quality of life over time. Taking measures to protect your health now can keep you from dealing with illnesses after they have already progressed.

Preventive medical care may include regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer and other possible health problems. For example, with early detection screenings like a mammogram, a patient stands a better chance of defeating breast cancer.

Taking steps ahead of time can also help to create a quicker and more complete recovery if a sudden illness or situation should occur. Preventive health care typically includes things like regular check-ups and pediatric screenings to make sure a patient is in good health. 

Continue reading to learn more about preventive care and get other examples.

Who Needs Preventive Care?

Anyone at risk of getting ill should consider their options when it comes to preventive care. However, even those who are not at immediate risk should still take preventive care measures such as annual checkups and blood tests. In the U.S., health insurance plans approved by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must cover preventive services for patients.

Those at risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and other forms of cancer may wish to seek the help of preventive care guidelines and practices. 

For expecting mothers, children and senior patients, preventive health practices can protect many different areas of health. Regular assessments of your physical health can lead to more effective solutions in the short-term rather than dealing with long-term problems. 

For example, if a cholesterol test shows that you have high cholesterol, your doctor can recommend changes such as diet, exercise or medication to prevent a heart problem down the road. People who have not been tested for cholesterol may only find out that they have high cholesterol after they experience heart disease or stroke.

What Forms of Preventive Care Exist?

There are numerous approaches to preventive care that apply to many different areas of health care, Here are just a few common examples:

  • General pediatric care to ensure a child is not facing any health issues.
  • Cancer screenings.
  • Colonoscopy. 
  • Flu vaccines and other vaccines.

Many insurance coverage plans cover an annual checkup, which can indicate what potential health issues you may have. After some checkups, a doctor may prescribe medicine or other treatments to improve the health of the patient and deal with any underlying health problems before they progress. 

How Is Preventive Care Administered?

In most cases, preventive care is administered by a trained professional in a controlled setting such as a doctor’s office, hospital or treatment center. On the other hand, exercising or managing your blood glucose levels at home (according to your doctor’s advice) are examples of at-home preventive care methods that can defend against health problems further down the road.

Preventive Dental Health Services

There are many preventive care dental services that can help a person care for their teeth. These may range from oral exams, regular cleanings, x-rays and many other dental practices. Even daily brushing and flossing can be considered to be preventive dental care to protect teeth from plaque and gingivitis. Your dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments and other sealant or cleaning solutions to make sure your mouth remains healthy over time. 

A preventive dentist may consider many factors when determining the condition of a patient’s teeth and recommend various treatments based upon them. Overall, preventive dentistry may include therapies aimed at reducing the risk of cavities, enamel loss, gingivitis or periodontitis. 

What Qualifies as Preventive Care?

Generally, preventive care is defined as any routine treatment health service intended to prevent illness or other health problems. The most common examples are checkups, screenings and patient counseling (when a health care provider like a doctor gives you information or advice about your health condition or illness).

Over your lifetime, the types of preventive care you get may change. These services are personal and depend on your health condition, family’s history of medical illness, age, gender and other factors. 

Making Sure You’re Covered for Preventive Care

If you have a qualifying ACA health insurance plan, then most preventive care services should be covered at no cost to you. However, these preventive services are only free when you get them from a doctor or other type of provider that is in your insurance plan’s network. If you go outside of the network, you may have to pay.

To make sure you get free preventive services, apply for a health insurance plan through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace. You can apply during the Open Enrollment Period (Typically from November 1 to December 15) or during a Special Enrollment Period. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you experience a qualifying life event, such as the birth of your child or loss of job-based health insurance.

Staying up to date with your regular check-ups and diagnostic tests can provide you with a clear health strategy going forward and potentially lower your risk for serious health conditions or diseases. 

Knowing What Preventive Care Is Right for You

There are so many scenarios where preventive care measures can be taken to detect or correct any imbalances that may be present within a patient’s body. Almost everyone can benefit from some form of preventive care, from children who are growing to elderly patients who may require additional treatment and medical supervision. Those who are obese may also decide that taking preventive steps can help them feel better and keep heart disease or diabetes at bay. 

While preventive care may span across a wide range of health care practices, there’s no denying the broad impact it can have when it comes to making sure a patient is prepared for their future health.