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A woman's guide to preventive care at every age

Important reminders for your health

This article was last updated on April 28, 2020.

** Preventive care plays an important role in your overall health. However, seeking preventive care during the coronavirus pandemic may look different than it has before. Please be sure to contact your provider or visit their website before your appointment to learn about special procedures that might be in place. ** 


Does anxiety or lack of time in the day keep you from getting important preventive care? Regular exams are essential to your health. They can lower your risk of illness and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Preventive care visits are performed in the absence of a medical condition or symptom. Preventive services aim to prevent sickness or disease. Plus, with your Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance, many preventive services are covered and may be covered in full. Just be sure to see an in-network provider and check your benefits before receiving services.

But, what preventive exams do you need and when?

Keep your body and mind in tip-top shape with these preventive reminders.

Women in their 20s and 30s

How often you should go: Visit your personal doctor or gynecologist every year to review your overall health, lifestyle and plans for the future, like whether or not you plan to have children soon.

Tests you can expect: Ask if any tests (like blood work or a cervical cancer screening/pap smear) or immunizations are needed. Just keep in mind that if those tests result in a diagnosis other than preventive care, the appointment could turn into a medical visit where cost-share may apply. 

Other things to talk about with your doctor: Review your mental health and family history.

Women in their 40s

How often you should go: In addition to a monthly breast self-exam and annual clinic breast exam, talk to your physician about making screening mammograms part of your health care routine.

Tests you can expect: Consider necessary blood work, like a cholesterol panel, or any immunizations you might need updated.

Other things to talk about with your doctor: Discuss any changes you've noticed with your body — for example, your bladder control and digestion.

Women in their 50s and 60s

How often you should go: Talk to your personal doctor about the need for a colorectal cancer screening (colonoscopy), and how often you should be screened, or if immunizations are needed for illnesses like shingles, flu or pneumonia.

Tests you can expect: Consider an osteoporosis screening to check out your bone density.

Other things to talk about with your doctor: Check your hearing and vision to spot any potential issues.

Advice for all ages

  • Eat a well-balanced diet, get regular physical activity and sleep at least 7 to 8 hours per night.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Protect and monitor your skin. If you notice any significant changes, talk to your doctor.

It’s always better to take care of a health condition early, before it becomes more serious. That’s why your preventive care visits are so important. Plus, many times preventive services are covered at no cost to you, so this type of care is a win-win for your health. 

This is not an all-inclusive list of the preventive tests, screenings and services you might need, depending on your age. For more information, please talk to your personal doctor or refer to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) Well-Woman Recommendations External Site. To see what preventive services are covered by a Wellmark health insurance plan, check out Wellmark's ACA Preventive Services list Opens PDF.

Download this preventive care infographic

Use this as a cheat-sheet when you're considering your need for preventive care.

Women's Preventive Care Refresher Infographic - Opens PDF

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