By Niki Jones, HR Analyst, Washington State University

Preventative health care is a very important part of your physical and emotional wellness. You only get one body to live with and you want to keep it moving and functioning. Key preventative health screenings can find a condition before you have symptoms, and screening tests may help find diseases or conditions early, when they are easier to treat.

Have you been in to see your doctor or dentist for your preventative health care? If not, why are you putting it off? Worried about your deductible and services not being covered?

If that is the case, there is good news! The Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) health coverage includes comprehensive coverage for preventative screenings, with most services covered 100 percent by the health plan. That’s right: no deductible and no copay or coinsurance for covered services. In fact, most health plans cover preventative care now, so even if you aren’t covered on PEBB benefits check with your health plan.

These services include, but are not limited to, well adult and well child exams, immunizations and vaccinations, FDA-approved contraceptives, preventive care for chronic disease management, preventive screening mammograms, and prostate screenings. Follow-up visits or tests that are not covered as preventative care but are medically necessary are still covered as part of the medical benefit.

Benefits are being expanded in 2016 based on the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendations. One of these expanded benefits is coverage for tobacco cessation quit medications an aids. This includes 100 percent coverage for all medications and nicotine replacement therapy with a prescription. If you’ve been waiting to quit smoking, 2016 would be a great year to do so.

Also, don’t forget about dental care. More than 120 medical conditions can be detected in the early stages by dentist. It is well documented that a high percentage of health conditions can have oral symptoms, such as swollen or bleeding gums, dry mouth, bad breath and various other changes in the oral cavity. Dentists screen for oral cancer during your regular cleanings. For more information on the connection between your oral and overall health check with your dental provider or read more here. Also, your PEBB dental plan covers preventive/diagnostic exams at no charge (in state, in network).

Now that you know that your health plan covers your annual preventive care it’s time to call the doctor or dentist and make that appointment!