Preventive care you shouldn’t skip

Life these days is anything but “normal.” And you’re probably doing your best to avoid the need for a visit to the doctor’s. But it’s still important to keep up with recommended preventive care. And, in some cases, doing so matters more this year than ever.

In-network preventive care is covered in full by your medical plan, so there’s no cost to you — and no excuse not to get it! Here’s a list of preventive care you shouldn’t skip:

  • Your annual physical – Even if you’re feeling 100% with no known issues, you should still meet with your doctor once a year to review your overall health status and screen for potential risk factors. Detecting conditions early is the key to stopping them from advancing into something more serious and costly. Medical providers are taking extra precautions to keep patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, so call your doctor’s office before your appointment to find out about any new procedures you’ll need to follow when you arrive.
  • A flu shot – With flu season hitting as the US is still battling COVID-19, health experts are urging people to get their flu shot this year to avoid compounding an already challenging public health crisis. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the 2019-2020 flu season in the US, the flu was the reason for at least 18 million visits to health providers, 410,000 hospitalizations, and as many as 64,000 deaths. The flu shot can help protect you against the flu by potentially preventing it entirely or lowering the severity of the illness and reducing the risk of hospitalization. And, because flu symptoms are similar to many coronavirus symptoms, people who come down with the flu may think they have COVID-19 and rush to the doctor or hospital for testing and treatment, further straining an already over-burdened health care system. The good news is that all the precautions you’re already taking to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (wearing a mask, washing your hands, keeping your distance from others, etc.) will help control the flu, too.
  • Blood pressure measurement – A blood pressure check is a quick and easy test that can warn you of a potentially fatal condition. Often called “the silent killer,” high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) may cause no obvious symptoms, but can lead to serious health issues since it puts extra strain on your arteries and your heart. Over time, this strain can lead to thickened, less flexible arteries, which makes them more likely to clog up and cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, or dementia.
  • Blood work – One little prick of a needle can tell you an awful lot about your health, so if your doctor recommends getting blood work, do it! For example, knowing your blood sugar can detect prediabetes and give you time to make dietary and lifestyle changes that could ward off diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and more. And, checking your cholesterol is vital for your heart health, since too much of this waxy substance in your blood increases your risk for heart disease.
  • Mammogram – The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 45 to 54 get a mammogram every year, with women of other ages offered the option to have one based on their situation. Breast cancer is expected to claim the lives of more than 42,000 women in 2020, and early detection offers the best chance for successful treatment. Mammography can often detect breast changes that could indicate cancer years before physical symptoms develop.

Do you know…?

What’s a healthy BMI? What’s a normal blood pressure range? If you don’t know these and other important health metrics, try this fun interactive quiz to find out!


“2020 Flu Shot Strategy: Get Yours Early In The Season,” NPR (, August 4, 2020.
“American Cancer Society Recommendations for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer,” American Cancer Society (
American Diabetes Association (
“CDC Director Warns This Fall Could Be The Worst Ever For Public Health,” NPR (, August 13, 2020.
“High Cholesterol,” Mayo Clinic (
“U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics,”
“Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly,” Health Facts (, February 27, 2018.