We all love to get something for free. Here’s a list of valuable health care services for you and your family. Every one of them can make you healthier now and for years to come. And, because they can help prevent illness and chronic conditions, or keep them from getting worse, these preventive services are free.

Almost half of American adults have at least one chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma or others. About 25 percent of patients with a chronic condition has one or more limitations in their regular daily activities. Preventive care saves lives and can prevent costly long-term disability.

The health screenings listed below have proven to reduce or eliminate future health care spending. It’s much less expensive to keep someone healthy than to treat them once they are sick. For example, every dollar spent on childhood immunizations saves over $18 in future health care costs. Every dollar invested in school-age tobacco prevention programs saves almost $20 in future medical costs.

If you have private health insurance, you are guaranteed access to free preventive services without having to pay a co-payment or co-insurance amount. This is true even if you have not met your yearly deductible.

Free preventive services are a requirement of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA, also called Obamacare). Free health screenings are available if you have health insurance from your job, if you purchased private insurance on healthcare.gov, or are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or Arkansas Works (Medicaid expansion in Arkansas).

To get these valuable screenings at no cost to you:

  • Your insurance must meet the requirements of the ACA.
  • Services must be provided by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network.
  • Services must be provided as part of a preventive visit. For example, if you tell your doctor you have diabetes symptoms and want to be checked, there will be a charge for that testing. The screening will be coded as diagnostic and you/your insurance will be charged a fee. But, if you have a family history of diabetes that places you at high risk of diabetes, your doctor will provide regular diabetes screening tests as a preventive service. Or, if you are also being seen for other problems during a preventive visit, the provider can charge for the non-preventive services and you will most likely be billed for that visit.

Be sure to ask your doctor about the correct designation – preventive versus diagnostic – before accepting a screening.

Free services for adults:

For more detail on any service or to determine if it is something you need or might help you, click on the words in blue.

  1. Abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screeningfor men of specified ages who have ever smoked
  2. Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  3. Aspirin useto prevent heart disease and colorectal cancer for adults 50 to 59 years with a high heart-disease risk
  4. Blood pressure screening
  5. Cholesterol screeningfor adults of certain ages or at higher risk
  6. Colorectal cancer screeningfor adults 50 to 75
  7. Depression screening
  8. Diabetes (Type 2) screeningfor adults 40 to 70 years who are overweight
  9. Diet counselingfor adults at higher risk for chronic disease
  10. Falls prevention(using exercise or physical therapy and vitamin D supplements) for adults 65 years and over
  11. Hepatitis B screening for people at high risk
  12. Hepatitis C screeningfor adults at increased risk, and one time for everyone born between 1945-1965
  13. HIV screeningfor everyone ages 15 to 65, and other ages at increased risk
  14. Immunization vaccines, including: Diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, herpes zoster, human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza (flu), measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, rubella, tetanus, varicella (chickenpox)
  15. Lung cancer screening for adults 55-80 at high risk for lung cancer (heavy smokers and those who have quit in the past 15 years)
  16. Obesity screening and counseling
  17. Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counselingfor adults at higher risk
  18. Statin preventive medicationfor adults 40 to 75 at high risk of high cholesterol
  19. Syphilis screeningfor adults at higher risk
  20. Tobacco use screeningfor all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users
  21. Tuberculosis screeningfor certain high-risk adults without symptoms

Free services for adult women:

  1. Breast cancer genetic test counseling (BRCA) for women at higher risk
  2. Breast cancer mammography screeningsevery one to two years for women over 40
  3. Breast cancer chemoprevention counselingfor women at higher risk
  4. Cervical cancer screening, including a Pap test every three years for women ages 21-65, or HPV DNA test with Pap test every five years for women ages 30-65
  5. Chlamydia infection screeningfor younger women and other women at higher risk
  6. Diabetes screeningfor nonpregnant women with a history of gestational diabetes but without a type 2 diabetes diagnosis
  7. Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  8. Gonorrhea screeningfor all women at higher risk
  9. HIV screening and counselingfor sexually active women
  10. Osteoporosis screeningfor women over age 60, depending on risk factors
  11. Rh incompatibility screeningfollow-up testing for women at higher risk
  12. Sexually transmitted infections counselingfor sexually active women
  13. Syphilis screeningfor women at increased risk
  14. Tobacco use screening and interventions
  15. Urinary incontinence screening
  16. Well-woman visitsto get recommended services for women under age 65

Free services for pregnant women or who may become pregnant:

  1. Anemia screeningon a routine basis
  2. Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling; access to breastfeeding supplies
  3. Contraception methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, as prescribed by a health care provider for women with reproductive capacity (not including abortifacient drugs). Does not apply if health plan is sponsored by exempt “religious employers.” Learn more about contraceptive coverage.
  4. Folic acidsupplements for women who may become pregnant
  5. Gestational diabetes screeningfor women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of gestational diabetes
  6. Preeclampsia prevention and screeningfor pregnant women with high blood pressure
  7. Rh incompatibility screeningfor all pregnant women and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
  8. Urinary tract or other infection screening
  9. Services numbered 11, 29, 34, and 35 above

Free services for children:

  1. Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use assessmentsfor adolescents
  2. Autism screeningfor children at 18 and 24 months
  3. Behavioral assessments for children ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  4. Bilirubin concentration screeningfor newborns
  5. Blood pressure screening for children ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  6. Blood screeningfor newborns
  7. Cervical dysplasia screeningfor sexually active females
  8. Depression screeningfor adolescents beginning routinely at age 12
  9. Developmental screeningfor children under age 3
  10. Dyslipidemia screening for all children once between 9 and 11 years and once between 17 and 21 years, and for children at higher risk of lipid disorders ages: 1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  11. Fluoride chemoprevention supplementsfor children without fluoride in their water source
  12. Fluoride varnishfor all infants and children as soon as teeth are present
  13. Gonorrhea preventive medicationfor all newborns’ eyes
  14. Hearing screening for all newborns; and for children once between 11 and 14 years, once between 15 and 17 years, and once between 18 and 21 years
  15. Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) measurements for children ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  16. Hematocrit or hemoglobin screening
  17. Hemoglobinopathies or sickle cell screeningfor newborns
  18. Hepatitis B screening for adolescents at high risk
  19. HIV screeningfor adolescents at higher risk
  20. Hypothyroidism screeningfor newborns
  21. Immunization vaccinesfor children from birth to age 18, including: Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, haemophilus influenza type b and regular flu shot, hepatitis A and B, HPV, measles, meningitis, pneumonia, polio, rotavirus, varicella,
  22. Iron supplements for infants 6-12 months at risk for anemia
  23. Lead screening for children at risk of exposure
  24. Maternal depression screening for mothers of infants at 1, 2, 4, and 6-month visits
  25. Medical history for all children throughout development ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  26. Obesity screening and counseling
  27. Oral health risk assessment for young children ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years
  28. Phenylketonuria (PKU) screeningfor newborns
  29. Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counseling and screeningfor adolescents at higher risk
  30. Tuberculin testing for children at higher risk of tuberculosis ages: 0 to 11 months1 to 4 years5 to 10 years11 to 14 years15 to 17 years
  31. Vision screeningfor all children

Click here to get more information about Medicaid and CHIP health coverage for children.

Free Medicare services

Medicare has long been an advocate of preventive services for Americans age 65 or older. Medicare will provide the following preventive services at no cost to people with Original Medicare, if your provider accepts Medicare assignment. If you have Medicare Advantage (MA), check with your insurance company about free services and network restrictions. Some MA plans offer additional free services.

Here are Medicare’s preventive services:

  • Annual wellness visit with your doctor
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Bone mass (bone density) measurement
  • Breast cancer screening (mammograms)
  • Cardiovascular disease screening and behavioral therapy
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer screening (Pap tests)
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Glaucoma test
  • Hepatitis C screening
  • HIV screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Nutrition therapy services
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Sexually-transmitted infection screening and counseling
  • Shots for flu, pneumonia, Hepatitis B
  • Tobacco use cessation counseling
  • Weight loss screening and counseling
  • “Welcome to Medicare” is a one-time preventive visit when you are first eligible for Medicare

Be sure your doctor codes these services as preventive or you could have to pay additional costs. If you have additional tests or services (not included in the above list) during your preventive services visit, you may have a co-pay and your Part B Medicare deductible may apply.

If you or your family have not taken advantage of these free screenings or shots, contact your doctor for an appointment. The service is free, but the value to your health is priceless.

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