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Medical checkup list: Important routine tests and screenings

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Tests and screeningsPreventive treatmentsDoes insurance cover medical screenings?Summary
Regular tests and screenings are essential to maintaining good health and detecting potential health conditions. Consider speaking with a doctor about this at your annual physical.
Medically reviewed by Angelica Balingit, MD
Written by Mathieu Rees
Updated on

Regular tests and screenings can help spot potential health conditions early, like cancer and risks for heart disease and stroke. This can get you on the path to treatment and recovery sooner rather than later.

They can also monitor your overall health and identify whether you could benefit from making changes to your lifestyle, such as getting enough physical activity and following a balanced diet.

Routine tests and screenings recommended to you may differ based on health factors like your age and medical history.

Important health tests and screenings

Person sat on a medical examination table speaking with a healthcare professional to depict medical check-up lists.
FatCamera/Getty Images

Certain tests can help detect serious conditions before they become problematic. A doctor might recommend the following screenings depending on your age and risk profile:

  • Blood pressure test: This test measures the force that blood puts on the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure can be a sign of heart disease.
  • Colon cancer screening: Stool tests can help detect early signs of colorectal problems like cancer.
  • Breast cancer screening: Mammograms and clinical breast exams are screening techniques for breast cancer. A clinical exam may involve feeling your breast tissue for lumps. Mammograms, on the other hand, provide detailed images of the inside of your breasts.
  • Prediabetes tests: A fasting glucose test can determine your risk of developing diabetes. A1c tests can spot higher-than-average blood glucose levels over time.
  • Cholesterol tests: High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Doctors use lipid profile blood tests to measure how much fat there is in your blood.
  • Skin cancer screening: If you have a mole that looks strange or is changing rapidly, consider seeing a dermatologist for a skin check. They may recommend a biopsy and laboratory testing if they deem the mole suspicious.
  • Cervical cancer screening: Pap smears and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests are important tools for the early detection of cervical cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer Screening: Prostate cancer screenings involve a rectal exam to feel for unusual lumps on the prostate. Screening may also involve prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, which look for elevated signs of PSA, a potential sign of prostate cancer.
  • Genetic testing: This can also help determine whether you’re at higher risk of specific conditions or diseases, including cancers, neurological conditions, and blood disorders.

It’s important to remember that screening tests aren’t foolproof. If you’re worried about your health and want to learn more about screenings, talk with a healthcare professional about which tests might be beneficial for you.

Preventive treatments

A doctor may recommend preventive medications if you’re at higher risk for certain conditions.

Vaccinations are also a well-supported primary preventive strategy. Many vaccines can reduce or even eliminate your risk of developing infectious diseases, such as flu, HPV, and hepatitis.

A doctor may also recommend dietary changes to support your health and prevent health issues down the road. For example, if you’re planning to get pregnant, it may be a good idea to increase your folate intake.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who want to become pregnant eat a high folate diet and take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

This can reduce the risk of developmental issues for the fetus.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you get up to 80% off prescription medication. See how much you can save on your medication here.

Does insurance cover medical screenings?

Most health insurance plans have to cover preventive medication, including flu shots and screening tests.

If you’re interested in getting a screening test done, contact your plan provider to find out whether they cover the specific test.

Keep in mind that you may not have coverage under certain circumstances. For example, if a condition tends to affect older adults, your plan may not cover a screening if you’re under a certain age.


Screening tests can help detect conditions and diseases before they cause symptoms, making early treatment possible. A doctor may recommend screening tests based on whether you’re at higher risk for a specific condition.

Common screening tests include:

  • colon cancer screening
  • mammograms
  • blood tests

Most healthcare plans offer coverage for screening tests. But some restrictions may apply.

In addition to screenings, a doctor may recommend other preventive measures based on your risk profile, including medications, dietary changes, and vaccinations.

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