Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive screening tests and treatments are free for most kids and teens ages 2-18. Babies younger than 2 have their own set of wellness visits. These tests and basic treatments -- from blood tests, to height and weight measurements, to vaccines -- will help your child grow into a healthy adult. Good preventive care can prevent health problems later in life.
Well Visits: Checkups for Your Child
Your child can get a checkup with a pediatrician at no cost to you once a year during ages 2-18.
At every checkup, your child's doctor checks the same general things, but the details they look at depend on your child's age.
- Growth and nutrition: Weight, height, BMI, and obesity screening tests as well as blood pressure checks starting at age 3, and cholesterol tests done between the ages of 9-11 and at age 17.
- Development: Your child's speech, coordination, strength, playing habits, learning, physical activity, behavior in school, sleep habits, and other things.
- Oral Health: An examination of your child's mouth and teeth to check his risk of getting cavities. If needed, your child will be referred to a pediatric dentist for treatment.
- Hearing: Screening tests start between the ages of 4 and 5 and are done every year after.
- Vision: Screening tests happen at every wellness visit. Your child gets a thorough eye exam around age 3 or 4.
- Vaccines: The type and timing can vary, so talk with your doctor.
- Safety counseling, such as safety at home, away from home, and in the car. For younger children, this can involve preventing poisoning and talking to strangers. By school age, your child's doctor will talk about bullying and screen time. Teenagers talk with their doctors about their home life, extracurricular activities, alcohol use, drug use, sex and STD prevention, and technology safety.
Are They Truly Free?
Are these treatments free for everyone? There's one catch. Some older plans that haven't changed since before March 2010, called grandfathered plans, don't have to cover preventive care. If you're not sure if your plan does, call your insurance company or talk to someone in HR at work.
It's always a good idea to review your health plan's summary of benefits to see what they will pay for and how much you have to pay.