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6 Free Preventive Services for Your Kids

doctor examining child

If you have a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act, you have many free preventive services available to you. For parents, there are 26 different preventive services available to your child without extra cost.

Here are six of the most widely used ones. You can find a complete list on healthcare.gov.

1) Vaccinations: These play an important role in lowering the risk of contracting potentially harmful diseases, such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox. A child may receive up to 14 different vaccines (49 doses, total), per The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, in the first 6 years.

2) “Well-baby visits”: Babies need to see their doctor six times during their first year. The doctor will do a physical exam and make sure the baby is meeting normal developmental milestones.

3) Autism screenings: Between the ages of 18 and 24 months, during well-baby visits, your child’s doctor will provide screenings for developmental delays and disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder.

4) Obesity screening and counseling: Childhood obesity is on the rise and puts kids at higher risk for developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The doctor should regularly check your child’s weight to make sure it is within the healthy range. If overweight, you’ll likely receive counseling and education about how to help your child eat a healthy diet and become more physically active.

5) Vision screening: Children should have their eyes checked by the age of 6, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All new health plans must cover, in full, vision screenings for conditions like lazy eye and crossed eyes.

6) Hearing screening: Newborns should have their hearing checked within the first month of life. There may be further tests if your child either doesn’t pass the screening or if the results leave some question about his or her ability to hear.

To see a complete list of preventive services covered by insurers at no cost to you, visit Healthcare.gov.

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