Your insurance covers an annual well-woman visit. But what exactly does that mean?
Your yearly well-woman visit can be either a combination of your annual physical and care specific to you as a woman or a separate appointment for just that care.
Preventive Care at Your Well-Woman Visit
Your plan covers a lot of preventive care and screenings, many of which you’ll get at your yearly physical. But for some of the care, you’ll probably want to schedule a separate well-woman visit with a specialist, like a gynecologist, or even multiple appointments with your doctor and different specialists.
Depending on timing and what your doctor recommends, this care includes:
Screenings & Care
- Osteoporosis screening – For women over age 60, depending on risk factors. Beginning at age 65, you should get this bone density test annually.
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
Cancer Screenings & Counseling
- Breast cancer genetic test counseling (BRCA) – For women at higher risk.
- Breast cancer mammography screenings – Every 1 to 2 years for women starting at age 50 until at least 74. Most clinics require a referral from your primary care provider (PCP) or gynecologist for mammograms.
- Breast cancer chemoprevention counseling – For women at higher risk.
- Cervical cancer screening – If you’re between the ages of 21 and 65, your doctor should review your history to choose a Pap smear schedule for you.
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Screenings
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling – For sexually active women.
- Chlamydia infection screening – Women age 25 or younger and sexually active should get tested annually. If you’re older, talk to your doctor about being tested.
- Gonorrhea screening – For all women at higher risk.
- HIV screening and counseling – For sexually active women.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA test – Every 3 years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older.
- Syphilis screening – For women at increased risk.
And if you’re pregnant or may become pregnant, there’s even more preventive care covered for you.
Prepare for Your Visit
Preparing with questions, and answers to your doctor’s questions, can help you make the most of your visit.
Know Your Family History
Talk to your family members, especially your mom, about your family’s history of women’s health issues. For example, as a woman, you’re more likely to get breast cancer if it’s genetic on your mom’s side of the family. So knowing this information can help your doctor keep an eye out for genetic issues you’re at risk for.
Talk to Your Doctor
Prepare for your appointment by knowing any questions or issues you want to talk to your doctor about. Some things you might want to ask include:
- What immunizations or shots you need, like the HPV vaccine
- If you should get STI screenings
- Help getting pregnant or birth control options
- How to do self-exams to regularly check for breast cancer
- Mental and social health concerns, like relationship issues or domestic violence questions
- Specific issues you might be having, like problems with your menstruation or abnormal pain or cramping
Know What’s Covered
If you’re not sure what’s covered and what you’ll need a preauthorization for, you can also check your coverage and preauthorization lists at Your Health Alliance.