Summer’s almost here and that means we’re about halfway through the year already! Take this time to do a little check-in with your health insurance policy—and your health—to be sure you’re making the most of it. To guide you, we’ve created a checklist for your health.

  1. Book a physical. Many of us let our healthcare appointments lapse during the pandemic. There’s no time like the present to get caught up! Make an appointment with your primary care provider (if you don’t have a primary care provider, use this as your motivation to find one). He or she can conduct a number of assessments and tests that can give insights into your health, including checking your cholesterol and blood pressure. They can also inform you about any kind of preventive screenings that are due, such as a pap smear, colonoscopy and mammogram, and they can provide any immunizations you might need. This is also a good opportunity to talk with your provider about any healthcare concerns you might have based on how you’ve been feeling or your health history.

  2. Make appointments for a well-child visit. Summer break is just about here, so it’s a good time to make any well-child appointments for the kids. At these appointments, their pediatrician or family doctor can update their immunizations, track their growth and development and observe their overall health. This is also a great time for parents to ask any questions and share any concerns they might have with their healthcare provider. See the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule of well-child care visits here.

  3. Don’t forget about your vision. Eyes change with age, which is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology publishes guidelines on when to do a vision screening. For babies and children, screenings are often conducted by pediatricians or family doctors, unless a problem is detected. For adults, the general rules say to have your vision checked once in your 20s and twice in your 30s (more frequently if pain or vision changes arise; or if you wear contacts; or if you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease); you should also get a complete eye exam at age 40, and from age 65 on visit your eye doctor every year or two.  

  4. Schedule a time to see a dermatologist for a skin check. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States; fortunately, nearly all skin cancer can be cured if it is detected early. The challenge is that trained eyes are often needed to detect this kind of cancer. If you’ve never been to a dermatologist for a skin check, make an appointment today, so they can examine all parts of your body and address any potential concerns. And if you’ve had a skin check before, and the dermatologist recommended you return regularly, consider this your reminder to schedule an appointment.

  5. Connect with a mental health provider. If you’ve been thinking to yourself that you might benefit from therapy, take the time to make an appointment. If you’re struggling, a therapist—whether it’s a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or social worker—can help you make sense of how you’re feeling. And these days, many of them offer virtual appointments so you don’t even need to leave home.

  6. Take care of your pearly whites. Brushing twice a day is important, but it’s also necessary to see a dentist at least once a year, says the CDC. He or she will clean your teeth, remove any plaque and also examine your mouth for any possible health conditions, ranging from tooth and gum concerns to cancer.

  7. Plan ahead for travel. If you’re going to be taking a trip this summer to a place that requires certain vaccinations, or where particular illnesses are common, visit a travel doctor or your primary care provider before you go. They can provide immunizations as well as medications that could help treat conditions such as malaria, motion sickness, diarrhea and other maladies you might encounter on the road.

  8. Sign up for the wellness programs your health insurance policy offers. The team at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama aims to be your partner in health. That’s why your policy offers perks such as Blue365, where you can find discounts for fitness gear and gym memberships. Older adults looking to work up a sweat can check out Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Silver Sneakers program for access to 24/7 fitness classes and a workout app.

You have a health insurance policy, why not put it to work! By making the most of your insurance plan, you’re doing yourself a favor and prioritizing your health, while also establishing relationships with healthcare providers, so that they can be there in case any future health questions or challenges arise.