It's a summer tradition many of us remember vividly. Each year, a few weeks before school started, mom or dad made a mad-dash phone call to the local doctor's office to make an appointment for that important annual physical. You probably never missed one. After all, you needed it for school or to participate in youth sports. But since then, has the annual physical fallen off your calendar and your radar altogether?
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Studies show it has for men, especially. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians:
- 55 percent of men hadn't seen their primary doctor within the last year.
- Nearly one-third of men report not having a primary care physician.
- 29 percent of men admitted to waiting "as long as possible" before seeking medical attention for pain, illness, or health concerns.
So, why don't men seek regular care?
"I don't have the time to go to the doctor."
Did you know there are 8,766 hours in a year? Setting aside just 1–2 hours for an annual preventive exam, or a check up when you're experiencing symptoms that don't seem right, can be life-saving. Just ask Wellmark member Matt McCullough. He has an important message for men who may ignore their symptoms, and the importance of preventive care.
When you do have an appointment with your personal doctor, take advantage of this time and talk about tests and screenings you might need. Depending on your age and health history, you may want to consider a cholesterol test, prostate cancer screening, colon cancer screening, skin cancer screening, or diabetes test.
If you're still not convinced a trip to the doctor is worth your time and you're experiencing symptoms like a sore throat or sinus infection, take advantage of a virtual visit. Download the Doctor On Demand External Site® app to see and talk with a board-certified doctor via your smartphone. A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand is a benefit covered by some Wellmark plans, and the out-of-pocket cost is generally similar to an office visit. If your plan doesn't cover Doctor On Demand, it's still an affordable option that can save you time and a visit to the doctor's office.
"It's too expensive."
Although it sounds cliche, you can't put a price tag on your health — and regular exams play an important role in that. Plus, with your Wellmark health insurance plan, most preventive services are covered and may be covered at no cost at all to you. Just be sure to see an in-network provider and check your benefits before receiving services.
To see a list of preventive services your plan covers at no cost to you, register or log in to myWellmark®.
"I'm healthy, so I don't need to go to the doctor."
You may be right, but it's best to have a conversation with your personal doctor to make sure. He or she can help you identify any risk factors you might have that can lead to more serious diseases. For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke, and pre-diabetes can eventually progress to diabetes. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to nerve or kidney damage, or loss of feet or legs. Staying on top of your health and finding a problem early can make a big difference in your treatment.
Download this "excuses" infographic
Combat the popular excuses men often use to avoid regular care.
Significant others: Encourage regular doctor visits
Sometimes a little old-fashioned nagging can help. According to a survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians, 80 percent of men say their partner has at least some influence over their decision to go to the doctor.
Get the most from your health benefits
Now's the time to stop making excuses. Make it a little easier by logging in or registering for myWellmark. myWellmark can help you quickly and easily understand and get the most from your health insurance benefits. From clear-cut details from your coverage manual to an electronic ID card, myWellmark will streamline your health insurance information and make it easier to find the items you need, when you need them.