Preventive Health Screenings Available Under the ACA

Photo of a patient in a hospital gown having their blood pressure taken

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As part of the Affordable Care Act (healthcare reform), a wide range of preventive health screenings and services are available at no out-of-pocket expense to Americans with insurance, or Medicare as long as the services are provided by in-network providers. Included are a wide range of services for men, women, and children, ranging from immunizations to mammograms for women after age 40 to autism screening.

(Please note that while these screenings may sound like they are free, they may not be. See note below.)

Here are partial lists of the kinds of services and tests that are available through this program.

Preventive Health Screenings for All Adults

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Aspirin use for men and women of certain ages
  • Blood pressure screening for all adults
  • Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50
  • Depression screening for adults
  • Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counseling for adults at higher risk
  • Tobacco use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users

Preventive Health Screenings for Women

  • Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
  • Bacteriuria urinary tract or other infection screening for pregnant women
  • BRCA counseling about genetic testing for women at higher risk
  • Breast cancer mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
  • Breast cancer chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
  • Cervical cancer screening for sexually active women
  • Folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
  • Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
  • Tobacco use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users

Women and pregnant women can benefit from:

  • well-woman visits
  • contraception (see notes below*)
  • screening for gestational diabetes
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older
  • sexually-transmitted infection counseling
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling
  • breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • domestic violence screening and counseling

Preventive Health Screenings for Children

  • Alcohol and Drug Use assessments for adolescents
  • Autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months
  • Behavioral assessments for children of all ages
  • Cervical Dysplasia screening for sexually active females
  • Depression screening for adolescents
  • Gonorrhea preventive medication for the eyes of all newborns
  • Hearing screening for all newborns
  • Height, Weight, and Body Mass Index measurements for children
  • HIV screening for adolescents at higher risk
  • Immunization vaccines for children from birth to age 18
  • Lead screening for children at risk of exposure
  • Medical History for all children throughout development

About Contraception Coverage

When this part of the Affordable Care Act first included birth control/contraception in the no-cost category, certain religion-based employers objected. After Congressional hearings, the ruling was modified. No longer will some religion-based employers be required to underwrite the cost of insurance to supply birth control methods to women.

Additional Notes About Payment

No out-of-pocket cost means no co-pays and no co-insurance. It does not mean your premiums won't go up.

Also, remember that since you won't be spending anything out of your pocket, it won't affect your deductible.

There may be costs that result from these tests and screenings. You may see your doctor and have one or more of these screenings performed, but any additional needs or services that result from these screenings will not also be "free." For example, you may go to your doctor for a checkup which is covered by this list, but should a problem be detected and you are sent for another test, that test will not be covered by this program. It may be covered in some way by your payer but not through this program.

Finally, should you be billed for any of these services, and you know they were provided by an in-network provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, approved testing center or another), then contact the provider's billing department and ask to have the charges removed.

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