Over 70 percent of Americans die from preventable diseases each year. And 75 percent of US health spending is on preventable diseases. Obviously, preventive care for Americans has been too low for many years.
Unfortunately, far too many Americans wait until the onset of disease to begin testing – when treatment is more difficult and much costlier. With the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, all of that has changed for the better.
The ACA requires that all heath insurance policies now cover recommended preventive care services – without copay, also referred to as cost sharing. Notably, the ACA now includes drug testing for addictive substances – including testing for often-abused prescription drugs like Xanax – in its guidelines.
In other words, insured individuals will now pay little to nothing for access to preventive care services & many tests.
As a result, it will now be possible for doctors to detect diseases in millions of Americans early on and take measures to avoid them or minimize their effect.
Below are the free preventive services health insured persons can receive completely free of charge.
In general, preventive services include health screenings, drug tests and medical tests. Specific services are divided into various categories, depending on the recipient.
Free Medical Tests For Women
Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling
Some women involved in relationship abuse are either not aware of what’s happening or are too afraid to speak up. This screening, available also for pregnant women, helps determine whether a woman is being abused emotionally or physically by a close friend, family member or intimate partner.
Women will be able to get screened to determine which contraception is best for them and their health.
Gestational diabetes screening
Women who are at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes and those that are between 24 to 28 weeks pregnant can now get screened for the disease for free.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing
This is available for women older than 30 even if they have normal pap smear results. Early testing and detection play a big role in preventing cervical cancer.
These are the newest screenings for women to be offered free under the Affordable Care Act.
However, there are women screening tests that were already covered under the law which are still provided under the preventive no cost sharing services of the ACA. These include:
- mammograms every one or two years for women older than 40
- Chlamydia testing
- cervical cancer testing for sexually active women.
Free Medical Tests for All Adults
Alcohol and tobacco use screening and counseling.
Under ACA, drug addiction is now considered a disease on the same level as other diseases. In connection to this, adults can receive free drug test for alcohol and tobacco use and take advantage of free cessation services.
Screening for depression
Screening for obesity and follow up counseling services. This is crucial in bringing down the bulging rate of lifestyle diseases and resulting fatalities in the United States.
Other diseases and conditions
- blood pressure
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (a onetime test for men who have a history of smoking),
- HIV and
- colorectal cancer.
Free Tests For Children & Adolescents
- Alcohol and drug use screenings and counseling for adolescents.
- Behavioral screening for all children regardless of age.
- Auditory tests, hemoglobin screening, sickle cell screening and Phenylketonuria (a genetic disorder) screening for newborns.
- HIV screenings for high-risk adolescents.
- Vision tests for all children.
- Depression testing for adolescents.
- Cervical Dysplasia for female adolescents who are sexually active.
- Autism testing for children aged between 18 and 24 months.
- Other screenings include those for obesity, lead poisoning (for high risk kids), STIs (for adolescents) and blood pressure.
To read more about other pediatric screening tests available, click here.
Free Medical Tests For Seniors
- Drug use screening and counseling.
- This includes screenings for alcohol misuse and tobacco use. Cessation services are offered for tobacco addicts.
- Bone density testing.
- Depression screening.
- Diabetes screening.
- Obesity assessment and counseling.
Also provided to seniors under ACA is a yearly wellness visit. During this visit, various tests are carried out to check up on the individual’s health.
A New Age of Preventive Care
Even though it will eventually save them a lot of money, private healthcare insurers have been notorious for refusing to cover preventive care.
As a result, many people continued to suffer from easily preventable diseases (or those treatable in early stages) and the federal and state healthcare budgets continued to rise.
The Affordable Care Act now forces insurers to focus more on preventive care, as much as treatment.
Women and drug addicts are among the biggest beneficiaries of the new no copay policies.
Generally, however, everyone will benefit in the long run – including the government and health insurers.