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News | Aug. 25, 2022

TRICARE Helps You Stay On Top of Preventive Health Care

By TRICARE Communications

There are many things you can do to stay healthy. Eat nutritious foods. Move your body through exercise or recreation. Stay at a healthy weight. 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?
 
“Preventive health care is the use of recognized proactive health screenings, counseling, and maintenance to prevent future illness and treatment,” said Jeanne Pickerell, a registered nurse with the Defense Health Agency Preventive Health and Disease Management Division. “It takes into account family health history, lifestyle, and other risk factors.”
 
In addition to doing what you can to promote good health on a daily basis, preventive health appointments play a key role in maintaining good health for the long term. This includes physical health, as well as mental and emotional well-being.
 
Benefits of Preventive Health Care
The benefits of preventive health checkups can help prevent health problems before they start. They can also help in the detection of conditions that you may be at risk for.
 
Who can you get preventive care from? It will depend on your health plan. Check out the Getting Preventive Care page for details.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preventive health care—like blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings—can help in the early identification and diagnosis of illness or disease. This means treatment can start early, when it’s most likely to be effective. Regular preventive checkups have been shown to reduce the risk for disabilities and serious illness or diseases, like cancer, that can lead to death.
 
Types of Preventive Health Services
Depending on your gender, age, family history, and other risk factors, when you can start health screenings—and how often you have them—will vary. For each covered screening, TRICARE offers guidelines to help you plan ahead. And of course, your health care provider who oversees your general health care will tell you when you’re due for your screenings.
 
TRICARE covers many types of preventive health care exams and screenings. Many of them are conducted in a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP&DP) exam.
 
All Adults
As we age, it’s important to know when to start preventive medicine exams, screenings, and tests.    
Men should get regular prostate cancer exams. Women should get well-woman exams (includes breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests) and mammograms.
 
There are special screenings such as a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis, or colonoscopy, to determine the health of the colon. (CDC guidelines advise a colonoscopy once every 10 years beginning at age 45 for individuals at average risk for colon cancer.)
 
These types of non-routine screenings are for patients with signs or symptoms or are at high risk of developing a condition. Some may require a referral or pre-authorization from your doctor.
 
Children
Preventive services are key for kids to stay healthy. Additionally, getting your kids in the routine of getting regular checkups is a great habit to carry into their adult years.  
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. TRICARE covers all clinical preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs to you if you use a TRICARE network provider. TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select plans cover one HP&DP exam annually.
 
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.
 
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. Be proactive and schedule your preventive health exams before the year is out. Visit TRICARE preventive services to learn more.
 
Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.
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