When children learn things early in life, the knowledge sticks with them. Teaching health literacy, including basic knowledge of insurance early in life, is found to be connected with better health outcomes. When we have better health outcomes, we have healthy and productive people which can also mean lower overall healthcare costs. Unfortunately, data shows most adults are not literate about health insurance supporting the need to teach kids early about health literacy.
In their blog post, the University of Michigan Health Lab explains why making health literacy part of the K-12 education curriculum is just the prescription we need.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventive healthcare is important, especially to identify and treat symptoms or diseases BEFORE they get turn into prolonged, expensive and potentially life-threatening situations.
Now is the time to schedule your annual preventive care visit with your doctor. Employer and group insurance plans may not require a co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible to receive recommended preventive health services, such as screenings, vaccinations, and counseling.
For example, depending on your age, you may have access — at no cost — to preventive services such as:
- Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests
- Many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
- Counseling on such topics as quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthfully, treating depression, and reducing alcohol use
- Regular well-baby and well-child visits, from birth to age 21
- Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio, or meningitis
- Counseling, screening, and vaccines to ensure healthy pregnancies
- Flu and pneumonia shots – Visit Vaccines.gov to learn more
Top things to know about preventive care and services:
- Network providers: If your health plan uses a network of providers, be aware that health plans are required to provide these preventive services only through an in-network provider. Your health plan may allow you to receive these services from an out-of-network provider, but may charge you a fee where claims are subject to a deductible or coinsurance.
- Office visit fees: Your doctor may provide a preventive service, such as a cholesterol screening test, as part of an office visit. Be aware that your plan can require you to pay some costs of the office visit, if the preventive service is not the primary purpose of the visit, or if your doctor bills you for the preventive services separately from the office visit.
- Questions: If you have questions about whether you are covered for preventive services at no cost, contact your medical plan. You can often find your list of covered benefits on the insurance website (i.e. http://www.mycigna.com or https://www.uhc.com/)
- Contact your employer or group plan, or visit your employer/group intranet to locate the Summary of Benefits of Coverage (aka SBC) which is required by law to be provided to covered members. The SBC will identify what’s covered and how.
- Talk to your health care provider: To know which covered preventive services are right for you — based on your age, gender, and health status — ask your health care provider.
- Dental Care is important. Regular preventive dental exams can impact your your oral health by lowering your risk for developing tooth decay, gum disease, and more serious dental problems. We can all practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing.
- Preventive health also incorporates self-care. We can perform majority of preventive measures on our own to stay healthy like eating right, exercising, reducing stress, sleeping well and living a risk-free lifestyle. Search the internet to find ways to incorporate self-care (here’s a post by Harvard Medical School)