When we think about health insurance, we typically think about it as something to use when we are sick, but did you know that your health insurance plan will cover services to prevent illness and keep you healthy? Every plan offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover the same set of essential health benefits. These services may be available to you at no cost or require a co-pay or co-insurance. Those essential health benefits include the following:
Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (however adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)
Urgent Care walk-in services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
Who doesn’t want to prevent getting ill? That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the preventive care services offered, such as health screenings, annual check-ups, and patient counseling. By visiting your doctor (PCP) regularly and taking full advantage of the no-cost services such as colorectal cancer screening for adults over age 50, blood pressure screening, and depression screening you can prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems, or detect changes at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best. Receiving these recommended preventive services and making healthy lifestyle choices are key steps to good health and well-being.
It’s important to know exactly which preventive and wellness services are available to you if there is a cost associated with them. The list covers many things, including immunizations, sexually transmitted disease screening, tobacco use screening, and many more. In addition to the preventive services for all adults, there are extensive lists of preventive services specifically for women and for children. You can find these complete lists by going to www.healthcare.gov/coverage/preventive-care-benefits.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Mental health refers to your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Different factors such as genetics, life experiences, and family history contribute to mental health issues; however, there are ways that you can maintain positive mental health. Among the more important are being physically active, getting enough sleep, and connecting with people in your community. But it’s important not to think that you can “go it alone” when things go bad. Your health insurance plan must cover mental health counseling so please seek it out when you need it.
Most of us are paying a premium for our health insurance, so it’s in our best interest to use it, especially for services that are free. As the season slowly turns into spring, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of what your health insurance plan provides. Do what you can now to take care of yourself and your loved ones. The MLA Health Insurance Navigator can help you locate services and discuss in more detail the preventive services that your plan provides, and why they are important. Please don’t hesitate to call the office at 207-967-4555.