Do You Qualify For 'Free' Healthcare Screenings? Here's How To Find Out

Health screenings are an essential part of a person's well-being when it comes to preventative care, ongoing treatment, or detecting illness. Despite the need for routine care, a common barrier to annual exams is the cost. Patients can be held responsible for expensive medical bills, often deterring them from seeking healthcare. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was largely created to combat high healthcare costs, making care more accessible and affordable to the general public (per WebMD).

Enacted in 2010, the ACA, also known as Obamacare, aimed to hit three main goals: make affordable health insurance available to more people, expand the Medicaid program to cover more adults who fall below the federal poverty line, and support new medical care delivery methods that could cut the cost of healthcare (via This legislation allows patients to receive certain treatments and tests with little to no charge.

Treatments and medications that have been covered under the ACA include certain vaccines and birth control. Additionally, mammograms and screenings for conditions such as diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases are part of the care model (via WebMD). However, eligibility for low-cost and free screenings depends on a patient's health, insurance, and the desired service.

How to find no-cost care

According to, most health insurance plans are required to cover a set of preventative services, including vaccines and screening tests. These services are provided at no cost to patients. The free preventative services offered are categorized for adults, women, and children. In most cases, the services are only free when performed by a doctor or other healthcare provider in a patient's health insurance network.

There are certain qualifications a person must have in order to receive free or low-cost screenings. According to the CDC, a person is eligible if they have no insurance or their insurance plan does not cover screening exams, or if a person's yearly income is 250% below the federal poverty level. Adults who are between ages 40 and 64 years-old qualify for breast cancer screening, and adults 21 to 64 years old are eligible for cervical cancer screenings. If a patient is considered high risk, certain women who are younger or older may qualify for the screening services.

Preventative care is typically fully covered by health insurance plans in order to detect or prevent serious disease and medical problems before they become significant (per Cigna).

However, for anyone with questions about what costs are covered and which are not, questions should be directed toward your doctor or insurance provider before having certain tests done.