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
- Lung cancer
- Tobacco use
- And more
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.
Finding Health Insurance
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.
Another option is purchasing an individual plan from a private health insurance company, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield. Going this route may have a higher price tag, however. Paying for health insurance on your own without employer assistance can be difficult.
It can help to work with a health insurance agent or broker, who can present you with multiple options. It typically doesn’t cost anything to work with an insurance professional, as they get paid a commission by the health insurance company after securing your enrollment.
Make sure that you’re working with a trusted professional from a reputable brokerage before sharing any of your personal information, though. If you’re not sure if the individual is legitimate, don’t give out any sensitive information, such as your Social Security number or bank account details.
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.