Preventive Health Care for Women

There are many preventive health care services and tests available to teen girls and adult women of all ages, although many preventive health measures are for adult women.

Additionally, preventive care is available to women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. Preventive health care has the purpose of preventing illnesses and diseases through the methods of health screenings, immunizations and even counseling services. Receiving the right preventive health care services for you can make a huge difference in your health and wellness along with improving your quality of life.

In addition, through the Affordable Care Act, most preventive health care services are completely covered by your insurance. Most services do not require even cost-sharing charges to be paid, so no copay or deductible is necessary, meaning that you will be responsible for zero out-of-pocket charges. And in addition to the insurance benefits, you can also save a lot of money by utilizing preventive care measures because you may be able to avoid paying expensive medical bills for the treatment of a preventable disease or illness.

Because of both the health and financial benefits of preventive health care, it is very important to ensure that you are going in for your routine check-ups, getting the screenings done that your doctor recommends and getting your immunizations. These simple preventive measures are generally free and do not take up much time but can greatly help you to avoid developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and more.

Women’s Preventive Care Services

Because of the physical differences between men and women, there are certain screenings and tests that cater to women’s health needs and conditions. These services are designed to either prevent or delay the onset of certain diseases and illnesses that are typically experienced by women. The following services are considered preventive care, and may be completely covered by insurance depending on the risk factors and/or age of the woman:

  1. Cervical cancer screening: This screening, called a Pap smear, is available for women 21 to 65 years of age every three years. Alternatively, women can get an HPV DNA test with a Pap smear for women aged 30 to 65 every five years.
  2. Breast cancer genetic test counseling and chemoprevention counseling: These screenings are for women with a higher risk for breast cancer.
  3. Breast cancer mammography screenings: These screenings are for women older than 40, every one to two years. Women younger than 50 years of age may not need these screenings frequently.
  4. Diabetes screening: These services are available for women with a history of gestational diabetes who have not been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and who are not currently pregnant.
  5. Chlamydia infection screening: These services are available for young women and other women with a higher risk for chlamydia.
  6. Gonorrhea and syphilis screening: These services are available for all women with a higher risk for gonorrhea.
  7. HIV screening and counseling services: These services are available for all sexually active women.
  8. Sexually transmitted infections counseling services: These services are available for all sexually active women.
  9. Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling services: These services are available for all women.
  10. Osteoporosis screening: These screenings are available for women with certain risk factors older than 60 years of age.
  11. Rh incompatibility screening: These screenings are available to women with a higher risk as a follow-up exam.
  12. Tobacco use interventions and screenings: These services are available for all women who use tobacco products.
  13. Urinary incontinence screenings: These services are offered for all women on an annual basis.
  14. Well-woman visits: These visits are available for all women younger than 65 years of age on a recommended basis.

Pregnant Women’s Services

There are also many different types of services available for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. These services help to ensure the health of both the mother and the baby before, during and after pregnancy. The following services are considered preventive care, and may be completely covered by insurance depending on the risk factors and/or age of the woman:

  1. Contraception: Available contraception services include those approved by the Food and Drug Administration, education and counseling and sterilization procedures. These services are only available for women with reproductive capacity. Contraception may not be available through certain health plans if the plans are sponsored by employers who are exempt for religious beliefs.
  2. Folic acid supplements are available to all women who may become pregnant.
  3. Anemia screening is available regularly to pregnant women.
  4. Gonorrhea screenings are offered to women who are at a higher risk of this condition.
  5. Hepatitis B screenings are offered to women during the first prenatal visit of their pregnancy.
  6. Syphilis screening services are available to all women.
  7. Expanded tobacco counseling and intervention services are available to pregnant women still using tobacco products and substances.
  8. Preeclampsia prevention and screening services are available to all pregnant women who have high blood pressure.
  9. Gestational diabetes screenings are available to pregnant women in their 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy, and those pregnant women who have a high chance of developing gestational diabetes.
  10. Rh incompatibility screenings are available to pregnant women and follow-up testing available to women at a higher risk of this condition.
  11. Breastfeeding comprehensive counseling and support services provide access to breastfeeding supplies and counseling from trained providers for all pregnant and nursing women.

Preventive Care Services for All Adults

Of course, there are also a big selection of preventive care services that are available to all male and female adults, and those also vary depending on current age and risk factors present. Usually, the risk factor is any characteristic or exposure of a patient that can increase the likelihood of him or her developing a disease. Some risk factors considered are family history, hygiene, weight, sexual activity, alcohol or tobacco consumption, or other diseases and illnesses that may increase the chance of that patient developing a certain other disease. These services include, but at not limited to, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, depression screening, diet counseling, immunization vaccines, obesity screening and more.

Ultimately, to determine which preventive services are covered by your insurance, you will need to either contact your primary care physician or your insurance agency. In addition, to discover which preventive health care services you should participate in, you should speak with your doctor. He or she will be able to recommend certain preventive care services that may be beneficial for you depending on your current age, risk factors, and whether or not you are pregnant or will become pregnant.

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