New York State In-depth

Stay On Top of Preventive Health Care

There are many things that you can do to stay healthy. Eat nutritious foods. Move your body through exercise or recreation. Keep your weight under control. Don’t use tobacco or drugs. Limit alcohol intake. And get plenty of sleep. But an important part of being–and staying–healthy is getting regular preventive health care checkups. 
So exactly what is preventive health care, and what are its benefits? 

Jeanne Pickerell is a registered nurse with Defense Health Agency Preventive Health and Disease Management Division. “Preventive care is the use recognized proactive health screenings and counseling, and maintenance, to prevent future illness and treatment,” she said. It takes into consideration family health history, lifestyle, as well as other risk factors. 

Preventive health appointments are key to long-term good health. This includes your physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Preventive Care 
The benefits of preventive health checkups can help prevent health problems before they start. They can also detect any conditions you might be at risk. 

Whom can you get preventive healthcare? It depends on your individual health plan. For more information, visit the Getting Preventive care page. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help with early diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease. This means treatment can start early, when it’s most likely to be effective. Regular preventive checkups have been shown by studies to lower the risk of disabilities and serious illnesses such as cancer that could lead to death. 

Preventive Health Services 
Your gender, age, and family history will determine when you can have health screenings. It will also affect how often you get them. TRICARE provides guidelines that will help you plan for each covered screening. Your general health care provider will inform you when your screenings are due. 

TRICARE covers many types prevention checks and screenings . Many of these are done in a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention exam. 

All Adults 
As we age, it is important to know when to start preventive medical screenings, screenings, or tests.

Regular prostate cancer screenings should be done by men. Women should have well woman exams. This includes breast, pelvic and Pap exams. 

To check for osteoporosis, you can have a bone density scan or a coloscopy. These screenings are used to assess the health and function of the colon. ( CDC guidelines recommend a colonoscopy every 10 year for those at average risk of colon cancer. This should be done starting at 45 years. 

These screenings are non-routine and are intended for patients with symptoms or who are at high risk of developing a disease. Some may require a referral or pre-authorization from your doctor. 

Preventive services are important for children’s health. It is important to get your children in the habit of having regular checkups. This habit can be carried over into adulthood.

  • Well-child exams (includes developmental and behavioral assessments)
  • Immunizations 
  • Vision screenings 

Costs of Preventive Health Services 
As described in the TRICARE Costs and Fees Fact Sheet, TRICARE makes it easy to get the preventive care you and your family need. If you use a TRICARE network provider, TRICARE covers all clinical preventive service without any out of pocket costs to you. 

If you have TRICARE For Life, you may have a TRICARE cost-share for any preventive service that Medicare or TRICARE doesn’t cover. Visit Medicare’s preventive coverage and screenings page for more information. 

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Remember, even if you feel well, it’s important to see a doctor regularly to maintain good health, help avoid problems in the future, and detect a condition before it worsens. Preventive health exams should be scheduled before the end of the year. To learn more, visit TRICARE prevention services.

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