Where to Get Free or Cheap Health Assessments

Health assessments are the primary and often most effective form of preventive medicine. These highly valuable exams help identify common health problems early.

With early detection, medical professionals can create a treatment plan that is most effective in avoiding the problem or minimizing the impact on your health.

With an abundance of free and low-cost options, it’s easy to get the information necessary to take care of your health. Online health assessments are a convenient way to determine your risk profile for certain illnesses. Many drugstores now offer walk-in clinics for health screenings by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner. Also, due to an increased focus on employee health, many workplaces offer onsite screenings to encourage their employees to monitor their health.  Furthermore, there are a variety of federally funded programs that offer health screenings for low-income families. If you are ready to be proactive about your health, the below information can help you find the resources you need for free and low-cost health screenings.

What is a health assessment and why do I need one?

Also known as a health screening, a health assessment refers to the set of medical tests a doctor performs to detect health issues. Some of the common health screenings include:

  • Cancer – Refers to a set of diseases that results in the abnormal growth of cells throughout the body
  • Diabetes – A condition characterized by abnormal levels of sugar in the body
  • Osteoporosis – An illness affecting the bones making them brittle and frail
  • Heart disease – A medical condition that refers to disorders of the blood vessels and arteries in the heart

Not all these tests are required. You may only need certain tests depending on factors such as your age, medical history and lifestyle. The key benefit of a health assessment is that it can reveal health issues before they begin to show symptoms. Then, you can start to take preventive measures to avoid the problem or minimize the impact on your life. Using the results of a blood pressure screening, for example, a doctor can take corrective action by prescribing medication or recommending lifestyle changes. Alternatively, a cancer screening could help identify certain cancers early enough for the treatment to have the most effect.

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Most exams are painless and can be completed quickly. Some only require you to answer a few basic questions about your lifestyle to determine your risk factors for specific illnesses. In fact, you usually get the results of most of these tests during your visit. More extensive screenings, however, may take several days for results.

Online

There are plenty of free online options for health screenings, and the best place to start is insurance company websites. Many of them provide an online form that requires you to answer a few questions about your health such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Level of physical activity
  • Smoking habits

Once you submit the form, based on your answers, you will receive a summary of key risk factors that may influence your health. While not a comprehensive exam, it is a great first step in identifying items to address with your primary care provider. Many local hospitals and wellness clinics also offer similar online assessments that are free to the public.

Your Employer

Don’t overlook your place of work as an option to proactively manage your health. They may offer onsite screenings or a voucher to a local care provider. Talk to Human Resources about different health screening options they might provide.

Your employer-sponsored health plan may also offer free or low-cost screenings to plan members. Read through your insurance plan documents to see if it is a benefit your company provides.

The Local Health Department

Contact your local health department to determine what screenings they may provide. They are most times free, however, some may charge a small fee for the service. In some citifies, the health department offers the test on certain days, or they may operate mobile clinics throughout the community.

Learn About Medicaid and CHIP

Medicaid is a federally funded program to provide affordable health insurance to low-income families. If you qualify for Medicaid, you will receive early detection services through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) plan. ESPDT covers:

  • Examination of health and developmental history
  • Lab tests
  • Vision tests
  • Dental screenings
  • Hearing exams

Should the screenings uncover underlying issues, Medicaid helps cover the cost of the treatment. Further, if you have children, they may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Through CHIP, you child will receive the vital assessments and support needed to remain healthy.

Outreach Programs and Charities

You may be able to find a local charity offering health screenings by searching the internet. Churches, youth organizations and sometimes the YMCA host community health clinics. At these clinics, residents can get a free screening, speak with healthcare providers and gather educational materials that can help them manage their health.

Pharmacies and Bulk Discount Stores

It might seem odd to associate a health assessment with a bulk shopping store. However, many of them offer it as a perk to its members. In this case, your only out-of-pocket costs are the membership fee. Another option to consider is a local drugstore. Some of the national pharmacies offer walk-in clinics and provide evaluations for:

  • Diabetes screening
  • Body composition test
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Blood pressure screening

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The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can provide detailed feedback on the results.

Hospitals and Clinics

Your local hospital may be an excellent resource for a health assessment. They may only offer them on certain days or during certain times, but they are often free and worth the wait. The same is true for local clinics and urgent care centers. Give them a call to find out what they offer and if they require an appointment.

Senior Care Services

Depending on your age, you may qualify for a free health assessment at a senior care facility. Also, look for a senior health fair in your area. You may find one at a local library or a community center. Check online for upcoming events in your area.

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