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What is health screening?

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
kids getting health screening

Health screening is considered a preventative medicine that seeks the early identification of risk factors that could lead to future medical complications. Health screenings should be done at the discretion of your healthcare provider, and the frequency depends on your age, gender, medical history and previously identified risk factors.

Featured provider

Life Line Screening

Rated with 4 stars
  • Recommended for ages 50+

    Pricing starts at $120

  • Available by zip code search

    Broad range of tests offered

Types of health screening tests by age

Age-specific screening test methods can be simple or sophisticated. The cost of health screening depends on the test needed and the credentials of the health specialist performing the screening. Most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act and Medicare cover screening costs.

Here are the common types of health screening tests by age:

Prenatal screenings

  • Tests to determine if the baby is developing normally inside a mother’s womb
  • Ultrasound and fetal anomaly scans to check heartbeat and other essential bodily functions as well as fetal anomalies, such as serious cardiac abnormalities, cleft lip and other deformities.
  • Special tests for Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes in the first trimester of pregnancy

Newborn

  • Physical examination during the first 72 hours of life and at 6 - 8 weeks of birth to detect congenital diseases such as heart disease, cataract, deformities, cryptorchidism and developmental hip dysplasia
  • Blood spot screening and heel-prick test for 5-day old babies to test for hypothyroidism, sickle cell disease and thalassemia, cystic fibrosis and inherited metabolic diseases
  • Hearing screening within 4 - 5 weeks of birth

1-year old children

  • Physical exam on weight, height and head circumference
  • Vision testing for response to light and ability to follow an object
  • Hearing tests should continue at regular intervals, even in children who seem to have normal hearing
  • Developmental milestones such as eye contact, speech development and social skills
  • Anemia testing is recommended for children between 9 - 12 months old

2 - 12

  • Body mass index (BMI) for obesity
  • Vision testing for color blindness and to check the need for corrective lenses
  • Hearing tests should continue
  • High cholesterol determined through blood testing
  • Diabetes testing for children who are underweight or overweight
  • High blood pressure, which can be a sign of an underlying medical condition in children under 6
  • Tuberculosis skin test
  • Anemia testing for those at risk of iron deficiency

13 - 17

  • Height and weight to determine body mass index
  • Vision testing to check the need for corrective lenses
  • Blood pressure to check for hypertension
  • Cholesterol testing is recommended for patients who are overweight
  • Gonorrhea, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Anemia testing for those at risk or showing symptoms of iron deficiency
  • Alcohol, tobacco and drug use

18 - 39

  • Blood pressure screening every two years to test for heart condition risks
  • Eye exam every 1 - 2 years to test for glaucoma and macular degeneration
  • Hearing test every 10 years
  • Cholesterol screening every five years to test for heart disease risks
  • Blood glucose test every five years to check for diabetes
  • Skin exam once a year to detect skin cancer
  • Pelvic exam once a year for women to check for signs of pelvic cancer
  • Pap smear every three years for women to detect cervical cancer
  • Testicular exam once a year for men to test for signs of testicular cancer
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone test to check underactive or overactive thyroid

40 - 64

  • All the tests for people 18 - 39 years old
  • Bone density testing every three years to test for signs of osteoporosis
  • Yearly mammogram for women to test for signs of breast cancer
  • Ovarian screening every three years for post-menopausal women to test for signs of ovarian cancer
  • Prostate exam every three years for men
  • Yearly coronary screening to check for signs of heart disease
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years to test for precancerous polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Yearly fecal occult blood test for symptoms of colon cancer

65 years and over

  • All the tests for people 40 - 64 years old
  • Boosters for pneumonia

Recommended health screening companies

Get advice from your doctor when choosing a reliable screening company to make sure you're getting the right tests based on your age, gender and risk factors. Below are the top health screening companies to consider.

Best for people over 50
Lifeline Screening

The company offers three screening methods for anyone aged 50 or older: ultrasound, finger-stick blood test and limited electrocardiogram analysis. These methods are non-invasive, convenient and painless. The screening is designed to detect risk factors for diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, bones, joints, colon, rectum and prostate. The cost of a typical Life Line Screening package ranges from $120 to $150.

 
lifeline screening logo
  • Recommended for ages 50+
  • Screenings from $120 - $140
  • Broad range of testing categories
  • Mobile screening events available by zip code search
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Best for vascular health
AngioScreen

Provides vascular screenings that can be completed in as little as 10 minutes. Tests are non-invasive and done using ultrasound technology to test things like heart rhythm, arteries in the neck and legs and overall fitness. AngioScreen is a mobile screening company, which means screenings can be performed anywhere from healthcare facilities to corporate buildings. There is a form on their site you can fill out to locate a screening near you.

 
angiology corporation of america
  • Recommended for those with a family history
  • Screenings as low as $75
  • Focus on vascular screenings
  • Mobile screenings can be hosted nearly anywhere

Best for in-home assessments
Matrix Medical Network

Matrix provides comprehensive in-home assessments and risk adjustment. It brings care directly to health plan members in their homes through their mobile health clinics with advanced diagnostic capabilities. Tests include ultrasounds, diabetic retinal exams, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, kidney screenings, hemoglobin A1cs and osteoporosis screening.

 
lifeline screening logo
  • Recommended for those with a family history of disease
  • Contact for cost
  • Broad range of testing categories
  • In-home assessments available

Best for biometric screenings
Promerica Health

Promerica is a leading provider of health screenings offering a range of screening services, including vision and hearing tests, biometric, finger-stick testing and EKG delivered from their fleet of mobile health clinics. Testing is also available in many retail locations.

 
promerica health logo
  • Tests for all ages
  • Contact for cost
  • Wide range of testing categories
  • Operates mobile health clinics

Best for employee wellness programs
eHealth Screenings

eHealth provides onsite and offsite biometric screenings. They use finger-stick testing and venipuncture as their standard testing methods. Personalized results are available within one to two days. eHealth offers employers real-time dashboards that include registration trends, screening progress charts, high-risk trending, demographics, screening location trackers and more.

 
ehealth screenings
  • Recommended for employee wellness tracking
  • Contact for cost
  • Focus on biometric screenings
  • At-home kits programs available

Best for service variety
Redi Clinic

RediClinic offers walk-in clinics inside of RiteAids and H-E-B grocery stores. The company helps with diagnostics, vaccinations and other services along with health screenings. Health screenings are available for issues like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, liver function, STDs, CBC and BMI, among others.

 
redi clinic
  • Tests for all ages
  • Services from $5 - $289
  • Screenings, vaccinations and diagnostic services
  • Available inside certain pharmacy locations

Bottom line: Why are health screenings important?

Some people avoid health screening for various reasons. They may fear the results, be anxious about the procedure or have concerns about the potential screening cost. Life is too important to not to want to know the state of your health, however. Even if the results are not what you hoped for, modern medicine can do wonders to treat diseases, especially when detected early.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.