Preventive Care or Medical Care? Learn the Difference

Many people may not know that there are two types of care you can receive when you go to the doctor — preventive care and medical care. The type of care is different, and your costs may be different, too.

Medical Care vs. Preventive Care

Think about how people use health care based on their needs. A person with a chronic disease may need to see a doctor or specialist often. Others may have occasional injuries or infections. Treatment of disease and injury is considered medical care.

So What Is Preventive Care?

Proper diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle can all help avoid certain health problems. Preventive care does the same thing. Preventive screenings can help catch problems early, before you notice symptoms.

Yearly preventive exams and screenings may include:

Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?

Even if you feel healthy, once a year you should get a preventive checkup from your doctor. Preventive care may help you avoid some health problems, or find health problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better.

A preventive checkup is worth your time and effort because:

  • It can catch disease early and may lead to better health outcomes and lower costs.
  • 7 in 10 American deaths each year are from chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. These conditions are preventable or treatable in many cases.
  • One of every 5 U.S. health care dollars is spent on caring for people with diagnosed diabetes. Preventive care screenings can catch the very early signs that this type of condition is developing when lifestyle and dietary changes may help lower risk or even reverse the condition.


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