Different health organizations have different guidelines for how often these exams are needed. How do you know what free services your plan offers? Look at your plan's summary of benefits, find the section on preventive series, and see if there is a cost for them. The Affordable Care Act is associated with the guidelines of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Birth Control Counseling & Prescriptions
What it's for: Birth control lowers your chance of having an unwanted pregnancy. If you've started menstruating and are sexually active, your doctor will talk with you about birth control. Formally, this talk is called birth control education and counseling.
If you want it, your doctor will also prescribe a type of birth control approved by the FDA. You don't have to pay anything for the counseling or the birth control.
Your choices include:
- Birth control pills
- Emergency contraceptives, including Plan B and Elle
- IUD (intrauterine device)
- Vaginal ring
- 3-month shot
Both men and women may also may choose to have surgery or a procedure for sterilization. Before you have this done, check with your health plan to make sure you understand any costs involved.
Keep in mind that health plans cover all of these types of birth control, but they all do not cover the same brands. If you have a particular brand of birth-control pill you prefer, for instance, check the plan's summary of benefits prescription drug benefits to see if it's fully covered.
NOTE: Certain religious employers offering health insurance do not have to provide this service to employees.
How often: As prescribed.
Chlamydia Infection Test
What it's for: For this test, you give a urine sample to check for the STD chlamydia. In some cases, your doctor may test a sample from your vagina.
Who needs it and how often:
- If you are younger than 25 and are having sex: Some experts say get checked at least once a year.
- If you are 25 or older: Every time you have new or multiple sex partners.
Domestic and Interpersonal Violence Check, and Counseling
What it's for: Your health care provider will ask you about any current or past incidents of violence or trauma you may have experienced. If you are in a violent relationship, your provider will help make sure you're safe and refer you to local domestic violence program and services.
How often: At any health care office visit.