Health insurance generally includes one preventive health checkup each year, but many people don’t take advantage of it. It can be inconvenient to take time to make an appointment, which can take months to get. Then you have to take off work during the day and drive to the doctor’s office, and maybe even pay a copay … not fun stuff.
Getting a checkup isn’t our favorite thing either, but you know insurance companies wouldn’t cover it if it wasn’t really necessary to maintain good health with our medical billing services. So what are the reasons it is so important? Here are a few of them.
Danger Ahead? Early Detection
The primary reason for getting the annual preventive health checkup is exactly as the name implies … preventive. When diseases are caught early, they have done less damage to the body and are typically easier to treat.
Symptoms that show up early are often overlooked by patients, but an exam can pick them up and get the needed treatment process started before it becomes a big deal.
Reduced Overall Costs
The preventive health checkup is often available without a copay, but even if you do have to pay for it, in the long-term it is likely to save money. Hospitalization is very costly, so it is far less expensive to treat illness early, before that is required. Preventive exams can result in an early diagnosis and beginning of treatment, allowing the condition to be treated with the simplest method available and in the least amount of time.
Medication costs are also very high. Early detection of a condition can result in a simple solution, which may eliminate the need for a lifelong series of medications.
Sedentary Lifestyles Are Increasing Health Problems
Sitting all day has become normal for many people, and it is bad for their health, but you don’t always have a choice whether to sit down or not, especially if you have an office job. If you are beginning to show signs of diabetes or heart disease, two of the more serious illnesses associated with too much sitting, an exam may shine a light on the condition, allowing you to start taking action to eliminate it.
Maintain Existing Conditions
If you have an existing health condition that doesn’t require ongoing treatment or follow-up exams, it is still important to monitor it with annual checkups. This can be done at the preventive health checkup and if there has been any change in the disease, you may be able to start treating it before you even notice any symptoms.
The earlier you can address health issues, the better, and this is true of worsening chronic illnesses. Even a condition that has no cure may need to be addressed if it flares up, creating symptoms that aren’t normal for you. Your doctor may at least be able to get it back to the previous level, so you aren’t in any additional discomfort.
Update Treatment Technologies
If new technology has been developed during the year, you may be able to benefit from it. At your annual checkup, your physician can determine if you qualify and if changing over would be right for you.
It would be nice if the medical care system automatically notified everyone who would benefit from the latest developments, but that isn’t the case. Doctors stay so busy dealing with their appointments on a day to day basis, that reading up on new things and going through files, considering who might benefit from each, just isn’t realistic.
Getting your annual preventive exam helps establish a relationship between you and the doctor too. It’s good to have that relationship, and for you doctor to get to know you, which is reason enough to get the annual exam, but taking the opportunity to find out about new tech is especially beneficial for those with ongoing conditions.
Stay Up on Immunizations
Since you are already at the doctor’s office, the preventive checkup is the perfect time to get any immunizations you may need. Depending on the time of the year, it may be a good opportunity to get a flu shot.
Children will occasionally need boosters for shots they received as babies. Adults usually won’t, but can get newer vaccines, such as HPV and meningococcal.
Whether you are in good health or have an ongoing condition, taking advantage of the preventive health checkup is a good idea. It may detect something you are unaware of, provide a new and better way to treat existing conditions, or just confirm that you are in good health.
Should the exam find nothing wrong with you, it is good to have that information as a baseline in case something comes up in the future, so regardless of the outcome, preventive health checkups are worth the small effort it takes to get one done.