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preventive health

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Preventive health is the use of recognized proactive health screenings, counseling and maintenance to prevent future illness and treatment. Preventive health is also known as preventive medicine or prophylaxis.

Preventive health measures save insurance providers and patients from expensive healthcare costs in the long run while providing better patient outcomes. Usually, these benefits motivate healthcare insurance providers to cover preventive health measures.

Preventive health measures focus on preventable disease, injury and patient illness that can be caught early to save the patient suffering from the resulting condition. Aside from regularly advised healthy diet and exercise, physicians use other preventative health measures. By using early screenings, warning signs for many health conditions can be detected and the conditions prevented or their impact reduced if they are found early. Including regular doctor checkups and appropriate immunizations, proactive screening measures can help discover many health conditions in their early stages, including depression, sexually transmitted infections (STI), cancer and diabetes.

Some preventable health issues are brought on by patient behaviors like smoking and environmental or workplace exposure to harmful substances. Preventive health also focuses on counseling to address patient behaviors and educate patients on how these factors can affect their health. Diabetes, smoking, obesity and STI risks are common counseling topics when addressing patient behavior and awareness in preventive health.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all healthcare insurance providers in the United States must cover selected preventative health measures without further copayment or coinsurance.

This was last updated in June 2017

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