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Most Americans want to stay healthy and prevent disease and illness. For many, this means getting regular check-ups and using their health plan benefits. For others, it seems that ignorance is bliss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans get their preventive services only about half the time, even though preventive care is fully covered at no cost by most health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Preventive services save lives and decrease suffering from advanced illnesses. Vaccinations prevent life-threatening diseases. Health screenings can find serious conditions early. Managing diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can prevent heart attacks, strokes or kidney failure. Despite these facts, there are numerous reasons people avoid their doctors.
"Understanding why you avoid getting your needed preventive care is the first step in taking action for your health," says Dr. Christina Stasiuk, senior medical director for Cigna.
Dr. Stasiuk and the experts at Cigna identified six types of people based on common perceptions. Thinking about where you fit can help you see why you may put off preventive care:
- Procrastinators: Procrastinators fear that a check-up will discover a condition that needs to be addressed and will impact them personally and financially. They delay or avoid getting a check-up to cope with their apprehension.
- What-if Worriers: What-if Worriers spend a lot of time thinking about unpleasant hypothetical situations and things. While some worriers see a doctor for every ache or pain, others avoid check-ups altogether because they anticipate an unfavorable diagnosis.
- Solitary Sufferers: Many people don't get help from their doctors to avoid revealing personal issues or concerns — especially related to mental health or substance use — because they're ashamed and worried about being judged as weak by others. This fear also keeps them from using their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) at work.
- Super Savers: Super Savers always look for a good deal and hate to pay full price for anything. They pinch every penny and may view a check-up as not worth the cost. Some don't even realize their health benefit plan covers preventive care services with no out-of-pocket costs, or how advanced diseases may cost them much more time and money.
- Workaholics: People in this group value work over any other activity. They may consider a check-up to be a waste of time, and don't realize that poor health can impact the work performance they prize.
- Self-Diagnosers: Self-Diagnosers feel confident that they are engaging in healthy activities and the need for a check-up doesn’t really apply to them. They may not consider that early on, many conditions have no physical symptoms.
No matter what your own motivations and concerns may be, you can get tips on taking control of your health and using your health benefits to the fullest at Cigna.com.
"From vaccinations to early detection, optimal health absolutely includes preventive care. Get past the hurdles and schedule your recommended check-ups. It is crucial for your long-term health and wellness," says Dr. Stasiuk.