DEFINITION of 'Preventive Services'

Routine health care that includes check-ups, patient counseling and screenings to prevent illness, disease and other health-related problems. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. health reform enacted March 23, 2010, most health plans, including those that can be purchased on the Health Insurance Marketplace, are required to cover a set of preventive services at no cost to you (meaning that you will not have to pay a copayment or coinsurance or meet your deductible to receive certain preventive services). Covered preventive services for adults, women and children are included in all health insurance plans purchased after Sept. 23, 2010.

BREAKING DOWN 'Preventive Services'

Preventive services are intended to help people remain healthy and to detect any health-related problems early while there is a better chance of recovery. For adults, covered preventive services include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (“AAA”)
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50
  • Depression screening
  • Diet counseling
  • HIV screening
  • Immunization vaccines
  • Obesity screening
  • Sexually transmitted infections prevention counseling
  • Syphilis screening
  • Tobacco use screening
  • Type 2 diabetes screening

 Preventive services specifically for women include:

  • Anemia screening
  • BRCA counseling for women at higher risk
  • Breast cancer mammography and chemoprevention counseling
  • Breastfeeding counseling
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Contraception
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  • Certain items and services for pregnant women
  • Gestational diabetes screening
  • Osteoporosis screening
  • Rh incompatibility screening

Preventive services specifically for children include:

  • Autism screening
  • Behavioral assessments
  • Children’s immunization vaccines
  • Congenital hypothyroidism screenings for newborns
  • Depression screening
  • Developmental screening
  • Dyslipidemia screening
  • Fluoride chemoprevention
  • Hearing screening for newborns
  • Height, weight and body mass index measurements
  • Hematocrit or hemoglobin screening
  • Iron supplements
  • Lead screening
  • Vision screening
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