Wellness exams and preventive screenings are available for most women with health insurance at no cost and can help keep them healthy for a lifetime.
It is important to get screened for things like cervical cancer before seeing any signs of problems. Finding health issues early can help lessen any necessary treatments. Unfortunately, many women across Wyoming are not getting these exams, even though they are part of their health insurance.
Dr. Lisa Brandes, Associate Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, understands women may have concerns about these exams. However, she reminds them that the benefits can outweigh any worries.
Dr. Brandes named several things contributing to women’s health concerns on a national and state level. She highlights the state of the U.S. health care system, along with a shortage of health care providers, making it difficult to find a doctor.
These problems have also made it challenging for women to find important lasting relationships with doctors who would typically encourage annual exams.
Regular doctor visits have become less common, with more people turning to the emergency room or urgent care for convenience. However, these visits do not give the same complete exams that annual doctor visits offer, increasing the existing gap in women’s care.
“It seems to me that regular care visits are just not the norm anymore,” Dr. Brandes said. “People are often using the ER or urgent care out of convenience.”
Dr. Brandes said many women either do not receive cervical cancer exams or wrongly believe they have received them in the emergency room. She added that an ER pelvic exam is not the same as a cervical cancer screening.
Additionally, the belief of costly health care prevents women from seeking the care they need.
Annual exams are essential to catch various health issues and vaccines can prevent long-term health issues. But intimate exams or discussing personal matters, such as weight or mental health, can be difficult for women who do not know or trust doctors. This problem is even bigger for those with a history of trauma or anxiety.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming encourages everyone to have a primary care doctor who will address preventive care, unlike emergency care visits that focus on immediate health concerns,” Dr. Brandes said.
Women may not place importance on cervical cancer screenings due to confusing guideline recommendations. But, regular wellness exams also address other health screenings including different types of cancers, metabolic issues, diabetes, kidney issues, heart disease, and more.
Most health insurance includes preventive screenings at no cost to members. However, it is necessary for women to understand their specific plan benefits and make doctor appointments specifically for wellness visits.
“Ideally, patients should utilize their annual benefits and set aside time for a preventive visit where they can discuss concerns with their doctor,” Dr. Brandes said.
Those who buy BCBSWY health insurance on their own will pay nothing for wellness exams and cervical cancer screenings including Pap tests, which conform with the guidelines as outlined on Healthcare.gov.
BCBSWY can help you find a doctor. Use our Provider Finder or call 800-442-2376.