All insurance plans in the Marketplace, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), must include preventive care at no extra cost. This includes an annual physical examination, also known as an “annual check-up” or “preventive visit,” which should be covered in full. You wouldn’t need to pay a copay or meet a deductible for this service. Remember though, this rule applies only when you see a doctor or other provider within your plan’s network. The specific services included in the “annual physical” can vary, so it’s always a good idea to double-check with your insurance provider about what exactly is covered.

Regardless of age, visiting a primary care doctor at least once a year can have a significant impact on your overall health and greatly improve your chances of diagnosing serious conditions early. Your PHP doctor will discuss health screenings that are appropriate for you based on your age, health conditions, and other risks such as family history of heart problems.

Wellness checks and physicals keep you and your doctor abreast with your medical history and renew your relationship. They can reveal early risk factors for disease or developing health conditions but mostly just provide reassurance that you are healthy. Wellness exams were initially performed on an annual basis, but the current recommendation for healthy individuals is once every 5 years until the age of 40 and once in three years after that. This may vary depending on your health condition.

At a wellness exam, our doctor will listen to your concerns and provide appropriate counseling based on a thorough history and physical exams. While reviewing your history, we will discuss your concerns, symptoms, lifestyle, habits such as smoking or drinking, or any changes in your personal or family history. An examination of your vital signs including your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and temperature is then performed. The doctor will study your general appearance, skin texture, and mental alertness. Your heart, lungs, and abdomen are examined with a stethoscope and other tests. The physician also examines your head and neck and vision and performs a general musculoskeletal and neurological examination.

Men may undergo a genital examination as well as a hernia check and prostate exam. Women undergo breast and pelvic examinations. Certain laboratory tests such as a blood count or urinalysis may be ordered on a routine basis. Further testing may be necessary depending on your medical history, examination, age, and risk factors for disease. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended after the age of 50 and women undergo periodic mammograms after the age of 40. Your doctor will also review your vaccination schedule and discuss the prevention of illness through exercise, diet, avoiding smoking, and other healthy lifestyle changes.