Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — Written by the Editorial Team on July 21, 2020

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It’s better khổng lồ prevent an illness than khổng lồ have to lớn treat it. That’s why regular checkups are essential.

Routinely evaluating your risk factors for various medical conditions, screening for cancer & other diseases, & assessing your lifestyle habits helps you stay healthy while reducing your risk of chronic or life threatening diseases.

Keep reading khổng lồ learn more about the benefits of regular checkups with your doctor, how often you should get one, how khổng lồ prepare for one, and whether they’re covered by insurance.

How often should adults get a checkup?

The recommendations regarding the frequency of routine checkups are based on your age, risk factors, và current health status.

While opinions vary, routine checkups with your doctor are generally recommended as follows:

once every 3 years if you’re under the age of 50 và in good healthonce a year once you turn 50

If you have a chronic disease, like diabetes or COPD for instance, you should see your doctor more frequently, no matter how old you are.

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Your doctor may suggest more or less time between your checkups based on your risk factors, screening chạy thử results, & current health status.

What are the benefits of regular checkups?

Regular checkups with your healthcare provider can benefit your health in many ways. Some of the key benefits include:

early treatment of health conditions, which increases the odds of a good outcomeregular monitoring of existing health issues, which lowers the risk of worsening symptoms or severe complicationslimiting extra healthcare costs associated with treating complicated or serious conditions that aren’t caught earlylearning new ways khổng lồ live a healthy, longer life & improving your health
What should be included in a checkup?

During your annual checkup, your doctor will reviews your past health history, evaluate your current health, & schedule appropriate screening tests.

For men và women, an adult annual checkup should include a reviews and update of:

your medical historyyour medication list & allergies

Men & women are typically screened for:


Additional screening tests for women include:

intimate partner violence screening for women of childbearing age


Additional screening tests for men include:

high cholesterol screening, starting at age 35
What lớn expect when you have a physical exam

When you visit your doctor for a routine checkup, the nurse will take you lớn the exam room và will typically:

check your blood pressure và other vital signsverify your health history, medications, allergies, và lifestyle choices in your electronic medical recordask about changes in your medical or surgical history since your last visitask if you need any medication refillsdo screening assessments for depression or alcohol use

When the nurse leaves, you’ll undress, slip on a gown, và sit on the exam table. There may be a sheet on the table so you can cover your lower body if you want to. Your doctor will knock on the door to lớn see if you’re ready before entering the room.

Your doctor will then review the information in your medical record & ask any questions they have based on the information in your record. They may provide counseling on lifestyle choices and screening assessment findings. This is a good time lớn ask your doctor any of your questions.

Your doctor will then perform a thorough & complete physical exam. This usually includes:

inspecting your body toàn thân for unusual growths or marksfeeling your abdomen and other parts of your body, which allows your doctor to check the location, size, consistency, và tenderness of your internal organslistening to your heart, lungs, & intestines with a stethoscopeusing a technique known as percussion, which involves tapping your toàn thân like a drum to lớn detect if there’s fluid in areas where it shouldn’t beif you’re a woman between the ages of 21 và 65, your doctor may also do a Pap smear during your physical examdepending on your age, health risks, và current health status, your doctor may perform other types of exams or tests during your physical exam

After the exam, your doctor will usually talk khổng lồ you about what they’ve found và will tell you if you need any additional tests, screenings, or treatments. They’ll also talk to you about any medications you may need.

You’ll get dressed when your doctor leaves, and the nurse will give you any necessary prescriptions & instructions before you go.

Here are some tips on what you can vị to prepare for your physical exam:

If you’ve seen the doctor before, make a danh sách of what’s changed in your medical & surgical histories since your last visit.Make sure your medication các mục is up-to-date & includes any vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medications, & herbal remedies you’re taking. You may be asked to lớn bring in the actual prescription bottles. Make a danh sách of new symptoms, allergies, or medication reactions you’ve had since your last visit. Make sure your living will is up-to-date, & bring a copy if there are changes.Let your doctor’s office know if you have any special needs, such as an interpreter or a wheelchair, so these services are ready when you get there.

Open and honest communication between you and your doctor is very important when it comes to lớn your health. It allows you lớn play an active part in your healthcare và helps your doctor provide the best care possible.

Here are some tips on how khổng lồ communicate well with your doctor:

Make a các mục of your questions & any topics you want to discuss with your doctor. Prioritize your questions with the most important ones first. If you don’t understand something that your doctor tells you, let them know & ask them khổng lồ use simple terms. If your doctor doesn’t answer your question completely, ask for more information. It helps to repeat what your doctor told you. This helps you both know that you understand what your doctor is telling you. Take notes while your doctor is talking.Ask your doctor what their preferred method of communication is for any follow-up questions after your visit, such as via email or a patient portal.If you have a problem hearing your doctor, let them know. If you don’t agree with something your doctor has recommended, say so. Keep in mind that your doctor can’t nói qua your information without your permission. This may make it easier to talk about uncomfortable or embarrassing topics.

The most important thing is to be mở cửa and honest even about subjects that embarrass you or make you uncomfortable. This includes topics such as sexual issues, depression, & drug misuse.

Having accurate và complete information is the only way your doctor can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you, & help you to lớn the best of their ability.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and insurance companies are required lớn cover preventive services without copayments or deductibles.

However, Medicare và some insurance companies don’t always consider routine checkups lớn be preventive services. They won’t fully cover the cost of a visit if it includes any tests or services that aren’t considered preventable.

For example, if in addition lớn prevention services, your doctor evaluates & treats your knee pain that started last week, the visit will be considered a regular visit. In this case, you’ll have a copay và possibly a deductible.

Medicare refers lớn yearly preventable services as wellness visits. They’re used to create a personalized preventative plan using basic assessments, your medical history, & risk factors.

Immunizations, birth control, and most screening tests are considered preventive, so they’re fully covered by Medicare and all insurance companies.

Lab tests, imaging studies, and tests not used for screening aren’t considered preventive, so you may have out-of-pocket expenses for these.

It’s important to lớn have a primary care physician. Having a primary care physician helps ensure continuity of care and increases the likelihood that you’ll stay current with your screening tests và treatments.

If you have health insurance

These suggestions can help you find a primary care physician who is a good fit for you:

Get recommendations from friends và family.Make sure the doctor is an in-network provider for your health insurance company.Get recommendations from your insurance company for in-network providers in your area.Do some research và find a doctor who has the same philosophy about health as you do.Make sure the doctor isn’t located farther than you’re willing lớn travel.Find a doctor whom you feel comfortable opening up to.

If you don’t have health insurance

In the United States, if you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford healthcare costs, you may want to vì the following:

Contact your local healthcare facilities and ask if they offer discount rates for low income households or those who are uninsured.Find a healthcare facility that offers payment plans you can afford.Find community clinics or organizations that offer không lấy phí or discounted rates for routine checkups.

Several organizations provide affordable healthcare, but they’re not always easy to find, particularly in rural areas:

Charity care. This financial aid program covers routine doctor visits in limited areas of the country. They can be difficult khổng lồ find, but calling your local hospital social worker or large hospitals in your state may help you find this type of care.

Another option is khổng lồ find low-cost insurance through the healthcare marketplace, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. There, you can find low-cost comprehensive coverage, including preventive care.

Based on your income, financial assistance is available if the insurance is purchased through the healthcare marketplace.

In most parts of the United States, the healthcare marketplace is run by the federal government at

It’s important to lớn take charge and feel empowered about your health. Getting routine checkups is a great way to vị that. Regular checkups can help you improve your health và reduce your risk of getting sick.

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The recommendations regarding how often you should see your doctor for a checkup are based on your age, risk factors, và current health status. While opinions vary, routine physical exams are generally recommended once a year if you’re over the age of 50, và once every 3 years if you’re younger than 50 and in good health.

If you have a chronic disease or other ongoing health issues, you should see your doctor more often, no matter how old you are.