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June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s How to Get Low-Cost Health Screenings
June is Men’s Health Month, and what better way to celebrate than by making an appointment with a doctor to talk about awkward stuff.
Guys, you know the kinds of conversations I’m talking about. Your prostate, for one. You really should get that checked.
While you’re at it, why not ask for a quick mental health check and a blood test to see how your testosterone levels are doing.
These discussions may be uncomfortable, but they’re an important part of preventative medical screenings that can help you live a long and healthy life. Plus, your family, friends and significant others want to keep you around, too.
Many men’s health screenings are covered by insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover over 15 preventative services at no cost to you. Companies that offer private-pay insurance, like BlueCross BlueShield and Humana, also typically cover the cost of preventative medical screenings.
If you’re uninsured, underinsured or don’t have the money to see a doctor, you may qualify for free or low-cost screenings through programs and organizations around the country. Here are some resources to get you started.
Prostate Cancer Screenings
One out of eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during his life. One key to overcoming the disease is early detection.
Prostate cancer awareness organization ZERO maintains an interactive database of free or low-cost prostate screening locations across the country.
Hospitals, university medical programs and physician groups are also great places for free or reduced-cost prostate screenings. Find one in your area by typing “free prostate exam [your town]” into your favorite search engine.
Testicular Cancer Screenings
You won’t find many standalone testicular cancer screening programs because the general consensus in the medical community is that they aren’t warranted or necessary. However, doctors unilaterally recommend that men do a monthly self-exam (there’s an app for that!) on their own.
If you want a medical professional to weigh in on your testicular health, schedule an appointment with your local Planned Parenthood health center or ask your doctor to check things out during your next routine exam.
Don’t be surprised if a mental health screening is part of your next routine medical examination. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that physicians screen all patients over 18 for depression during appointments.
If you’re in between doctor visits, you can take a free online mental health assessment for a quick preliminary evaluation.
For further screening and assistance, check the National Alliance on Mental Illness database of nearly 1,000 state organizations and NAMI affiliates that offer free or low-cost mental health services in your area.
We’ve also compiled a list of additional resources for free or cheap mental health assistance for people who don’t have health insurance.
Sexual Health Screenings
A variety of preventative medical screenings and evaluations fall under the sexual health umbrella including erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted infections and fertility issues.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center can screen for and treat all these concerns and more. They also provide cancer screenings and general health exams.
Most centers charge uninsured or low-income patients on a sliding scale based on what they can afford. Check with your local Planned Parenthood office for specifics.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention participates in a number of campaigns and initiatives that provide sexual health services to gay and bisexual men.
Programs include screenings for HIV, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis. The agency also supports testing and outreach initiatives for black/African American, Latino and American Indian and Alaska Native gay and bisexual communities.
General Health Screening Services
If you’re uninsured, need financial assistance or have other circumstances that make it difficult to see a doctor, here’s how to find free or low-cost resources in your area.
- Men’s Health Network maintains a database of clinics organized by state, city or facility name
- Search the CDC’s database of state and territorial health departments
- Take a look at the list of low cost health care providers assembled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Join the Men's Health Network Online Support Community to learn about resources discovered by its community members
- If you have Medicare, this guide explains what preventative services you’re eligible to receive
- Check out the U.S. Department of Health’s clinic locator to find low-cost or free health centers in your area
Now that I’ve done most of the legwork for you, there’s really no excuse to put off a checkup or health screening.
Go make that phone call. Today.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. After she files this article, she’s calling her husband to remind him to make a doctor appointment.