Men’s Health Month 2024: How To Save Money On Screenings?

Rebecca Safier
May 29, 2024
Men’s Health Month 2024: How To Save Money On Screenings
Men’s Health Month 2024: How To Save Money On Screenings

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When was the last time you visited your doctor? If you can’t remember, it might be time to stop dragging your feet and make that appointment. June is officially kicks off Men’s Health Month, so there’s no better time to get a checkup. 

Fortunately, your health insurance plan is required to cover over 15 preventative services, including blood pressure and cholesterol screening, at no cost to you. Even if your issue doesn’t fall under a covered service — or if you’re uninsured — you might qualify for a free or low-cost health screening program for men.

While visiting the doctor is never fun (and sometimes downright awkward), these proactive screenings can help keep you healthy and thriving. Here are some resources to help you make your health a priority this Men’s Health Month. 

General Men’s Health Care Resources

Whether you have health insurance through HealthCare.gov or private insurance through a provider like Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover a number of preventative services, including screening and/or counseling for:-

  • Alcohol Misuse 
  • Blood Pressure 
  • Cholesterol 
  • Depression
  • Diabetes 
  • Immunizations 
  • Lung Cancer 
  • Obesity 
  • Tobacco Use

If you don’t have insurance, you may also be able to find free or low-cost health screening programs. The Men’s Health Network and Men’s Health Month website both have a collection of valuable resources to get you started. 

The Health Resources & Services Administration maintains a list of community health centers so you can find clinics in your area. You can also join the Men’s Health Network Online Support Community and seek advice from fellow members in the group. 

Don’t let financial difficulties prevent you from getting the healthcare you need. With these resources, you may be able to find free or low-cost healthcare in your area.

Men’s Mental Health Resources

If you’re looking for mental health support, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness database. This database contains more than 600 organizations that offer low-cost mental health services. 

You could also try visiting a community mental health center or attending a local support or addiction recovery group. If you have insurance, check your plan to find out what mental health services it covers. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a provider in your area. 

There are also a number of online therapy resources you can use. Talkspace and BetterHelp are two examples of online services that will connect you with a counselor and allow you to communicate via direct message or video chat.

Screenings For Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer affects one out of every eight men, according to the American Cancer Society. Preventative screenings typically begin around age 50, though they may start earlier for patients with risk factors. 

Early detection of the disease is key to beating the disease. If you’re looking for low-cost screening options, check out the database maintained by ZERO, a prostate cancer awareness organization. You might also be able to find a free exam at a hospital or university medical group by searching for it online.

While less common than prostate cancer, testicular cancer is another disease for which early detection is the key to recovery. Doctors often recommend that men stay on the lookout for symptoms with a monthly self-exam, perhaps using this men’s health app from the Testicular Cancer Society.

Screenings For Sexual Health

Hepatitis B and C screening, HIV screening, and sexually transmitted infection prevention counseling all fall into the category of required preventative care benefits on health insurance plans. If you don’t have health insurance, however, you may search for affordable care at your local Planned Parenthood. 

Many Planned Parenthood health centers offer an income-based payment, charging you based on what you can afford. You might also find services at a reduced cost at a university medical program or local nonprofit healthcare clinic.

Here are some other recommended health screenings that men should consider:-

1. Blood Pressure

Men should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year, especially if they have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

2. Cholesterol

Men should have their cholesterol checked every five years if they are over 35 or if they have risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity.

3. Colorectal Cancer

Men over 50 should get screened for colorectal cancer. Depending on the type of screening chosen, this may need to be done more frequently.

4. Diabetes

Men with a family history of diabetes, obesity, or other risk factors should get screened for diabetes. This may involve a fasting blood glucose test or a hemoglobin A1C test.

5. Skin Cancer

Men should have their skin checked by a dermatologist every year, especially if they have a history of skin cancer or a lot of moles.

6. Testicular Cancer

Men should do a monthly self-exam of their testicles and see a doctor if they notice any lumps, swelling, or other changes.

Finding The Right Health Insurance Plan For Men

Just like everyone else, men’s health needs change as they age. From preventive care in your youth to potential management of specific conditions later in life, having the right health insurance plan is crucial. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the options and find the perfect fit:-

Step 1: Assess Your Needs

Age:

(i) Younger Men (20s-30s): This is a great time to prioritize preventive care. Look for plans with comprehensive coverage for checkups, screenings (like testicular cancer screenings), and immunizations. Flexibility in choosing doctors and hospitals might also be important.

(ii) Middle-Aged Men (40s-50s): This is when preventive care becomes even more important. Consider plans with coverage for routine blood work, prostate exams, and screenings for heart disease and other conditions that become more prevalent with age.

Lifestyle:

(i) Active Lifestyle: If you participate in sports or other activities with a higher risk of injury, ensure your plan offers coverage for sports medicine and physical therapy.

(ii) Military Service: If you’re actively serving or a veteran, explore plans that complement your existing military healthcare benefits.

Family:

If you have dependents (spouse, children), consider a family plan. This ensures everyone in your family is covered under the same policy, potentially saving you money and simplifying claims.

Step 2: Understand Key Plan Features

(i) Coverage Amount (Sum Insured): This is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay towards your medical bills in a year. It’s crucial to choose a plan with a high enough coverage amount to handle potential medical emergencies.

(ii) Network of Hospitals and Doctors: Does the plan cover your preferred doctors and hospitals? Having in-network providers can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

(iii) Out-of-Pocket Costs: These are the expenses you’ll pay before your insurance kicks in. Deductible is the upfront amount you pay before insurance starts covering costs. Copay is a fixed amount you pay for certain services (like doctor visits), and coinsurance is a percentage of the covered costs you share with the insurer. Understanding these will help you budget for healthcare expenses.

(iv) Preventive Care Coverage: Look for plans that cover preventive care services like checkups, screenings, and immunizations. These can help identify and address health concerns early, potentially saving money on future medical bills.

Step 3: Research and Compare Plans

(i) Trusted Names: Reputable insurers like UnitedHealthcare and Humana offer a wide range of health insurance plans specifically designed for men’s needs. These companies have a proven track record of providing quality coverage and customer service.

(ii) Comparison Tools: Utilize online comparison tools to see plans side-by-side. These tools allow you to filter based on your age, location, desired coverage, and budget. You can compare deductibles, copays, coinsurance, network coverage, and preventive care benefits to find a plan that aligns with your priorities.

(iii) Professional Help: Consider talking to a licensed insurance agent or broker. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and help you navigate the complexities of different plans. They can also explain complex terms like deductibles and copays, ensuring you understand the financial implications of each plan.

If you don’t have health insurance coverage through your employer, you may be able to enroll in a plan at HealthCare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Medicare is available for people over the age of 65 or individuals who meet other qualifying criteria. Some states also offer their own healthcare programs, including low-cost options for low-income individuals. It’s worth comparing your options on the state and federal levels to see which plan offers a better cost and more comprehensive coverage. 

Conclusion

Commit To Your Health This Men’s Health Month

As the summer season kicks off, you might have lots of exciting plans in the months to come. But before you head to the beach or fire up the barbecue, take some time to check in with your health.

If you have health insurance, schedule that free physical with your doctor and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. If you have any symptoms you’re worried about, don’t hesitate to get them checked out. 

Even if you don’t have health insurance, there are a number of organizations and databases that can connect you with free or low-cost health services. From university medical programs to nonprofit clinics to Planned Parenthood, you have options for screenings and exams. 

Being proactive about your health is critical for preventing and overcoming disease. Use these resources to make your physical and mental health a priority without breaking the bank this Men’s Health Month.

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