For best results, you should see your doctor at least once a year. These regular checkups discover health problems early, improving your odds for treatment and cure. They also monitor chronic health problems, reducing complication risks and keeping you informed about any changes in your condition or advancements in treatment. Checkups also improve your relationship with your health care provider, making treatment more effective.
What it costs: Thanks to the Patient Protection Affordability Care Act, or the PPACA, coverage for an annual checkup is federally mandated in all states and is free. Starting on January 1, 2013, this law required all providers, including insurance your employer may offer, to cover the cost of one annual health care visit as described below, including all indicated tests. To fulfill the preventive care and maintenance purpose of the PPACA, your provider may not charge you for the exam or for a co-pay, a deductible, or a coinsurance charge. In addition to indicated tests, the PPACA covers certain benefits and preventive care for women, such as mammograms.
What to expect: During your health care visit, your doctor will perform or order various tests depending on your age, your current health, and your family history. Your doctor may counsel you on lifestyle choices, such as your diet and activity. Your regular checkup will also include a blood test to identify certain conditions, including anemia, high or low blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and high or low cholesterol. In addition, doctors use blood tests to check your organ health.
If you do not have a regular health care provider, you can find potential providers in your community at Find A Health Center. Regular checkups can increase the length and quality of your life, so take advantage of this benefit.