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At Risk for Diabetes? Use Free Preventive Care

You're at risk for type 2 diabetes if someone in your family has it, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or if you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.

Your doctor can test you for type 2 diabetes by checking a sample of your blood. And this test will most likely be free.

You may also be able to get free help to work on improving the habits that raise your risk for diabetes, like how you eat. Taking action early can prevent you from getting this dangerous disease.

Free Type 2 Diabetes Tests

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, nearly all health plans have to provide certain preventive care to their members at no cost. You don't have to pay a copay, coinsurance, or even a deductible to get these exams when they're used to help find conditions or diseases early, before you have symptoms.

  • A cholesterol test lets you know your cholesterol levels. People with abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood) have a greater risk of having type 2 diabetes. If yours are not in healthy ranges, improving them can help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes --and heart disease.
  • A high blood pressure test lets you know your blood pressure is in a healthy range. People with high blood pressure have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Following treatment to lower high blood pressure can also lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • A gestational diabetes test when you're pregnant shows if your blood sugar levels have risen to unhealthy levels. Being treated to bring your levels down helps prevent pregnancy complications. It also helps identify you as having a greatly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.


Free Preventive Services for Type 2 Diabetes

In addition to having your blood checked for type 2 diabetes, you can also use free services to help you improve habits that affect your chances of getting diabetes.

  • Nutrition counseling can help you make healthy food choices to prevent diabetes.
  • Obesity screening and counseling can help you understand if your weight is raising your risk for type 2 diabetes. With obesity counseling, you may be able to lose weight and lower your risk. Even losing as little as 5% of any excess weight can make you less likely to get it.

Who Can Get Free Testing & Prevention Services?

All health insurance companies must cover these services as part of their essential health benefits. The exception is the so-called grandfathered plans, which are health plans that existed before March 2010 and that have not made significant changes to their benefits. Check your health plan's summary of benefits to see if you can get free preventive care services.

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