Why is the Well-Woman Visit so important? If you can detect any illness early, you’ll always have a much better chance of beating it. It’s entirely possible to have a serious condition like heart disease without yet experiencing any noticeable symptoms. Your Well-Woman Visit is a great way for your doctor to discover any telltale signs of health concerns, and advise steps on how to treat them.
How often should I have a Well-Woman Visit? Once a year, and remember to schedule next year’s exam while you’re at the doctor’s office. Depending on what specific preventive screenings or services you may need, it may actually take more than one visit to get them.
What services are covered as part of the Well-Woman Visit? A wide range of recommended screenings, immunizations, and counseling services are considered preventive services. These services may be provided as part of your Well-Woman Visit or as part of a separate appointment. For a complete listing of all of the preventive services that are available to you, check out these links:
For adults in general:
For women specifically:
How much does it cost? If you visit a doctor who is part of your insurance network, most insurance plans will pay for the entire visit since it’s considered a preventive service. You won’t even be charged a co-pay! If you’re not sure whether your plan covers preventive services, call your insurance company.
Who can provide a Well-Woman Visit? Your family physician, internist, or OB-GYN may all provide your Well-Woman Visit. Non-physician providers, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, may also conduct the visit. Whatever type of provider you choose, be sure to verify that they are part of your health plan’s provider network and are willing to provide you (or provide a referral for) all of the preventive services you need.
If the exam is 100% paid for by insurance, will any prescribed medications also be 100% paid for? Not necessarily. There are thousands of drugs and a wide variety of insurance plans. There’s a good chance you’ll have to contribute a co-pay or co-insurance when you pick up your prescription.
Is it OK to ask the doctor questions? Of course! You are encouraged to ask questions and talk about your health concerns to your doctor; it helps them give a more thorough examination. Your doctor will probably bring up words and numbers that aren’t easy to understand, so feel free to ask for clarification.
Will I have to disrobe? Yes. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown during the exam.
What types of things will they be looking for? The Well-Woman Visit is a combination of a physical exam and discussion about your health. While your doctor should be looking for signs of heart disease, the exam also looks for other concerns such as skin conditions, diabetes, gynecological issues, depression, etc. If the doctor pinpoints a concern in some area, he or she may decide to perform more tests to gain a fuller understanding of the situation. (Additional tests may be subject to cost-sharing.)
What should I bring to the visit? Bring your insurance card, ID, your family health history, a list of medications you currently take, and a list of questions or issues you want to raise. Also bring a few dollars for parking. As with any doctor visit there may be some waiting around, so feel free to bring your own book or magazine. It would be best to leave expensive jewelry at home as they may ask you to take if off for the exam.
Should I have someone drive me to the exam? This won’t be necessary; you should be able to drive yourself or take public transportation. You won’t be given any drugs or anesthetic that might make you dizzy or unable to drive, and you won’t have your eyes dilated.
While I’m at the doctor, can I get treated for something else? If you’re treated for a medical condition, your visit will no longer be considered a Well-Woman Visit and you’ll have to pay your co-payment and your deductible, if it applies. You may be asked to reschedule your Well-Woman Visit for insurance reasons.
Is it OK to eat before the exam? Just call your doctor’s office to ask about their instructions on eating ahead of time. It’s best not to eat several hours before the exam so your food doesn’t affect the blood sugar levels in your blood test. It’s OK to drink water before the exam as you may be asked to provide a urine sample.