Commit to Self-Care

With all of the disruption to our routines over the past 18 months, many of us have put off or not kept up with the routine of regular preventive care and health screenings, which are both important for your overall health and are covered under your UC Blue & Gold HMO plan.

Let's make self-care a priority as we head into 2022. You can help protect yourself from COVID-19 without skipping your health visits. Doctors are taking several measures to protect you from COVID-19 exposure. Call your doctor if you are due for your yearly wellness visit or have questions about your health screenings.

Important Health Screenings

Screening Age Purpose How Often
Wellness Visit 19 and older To know more about your current health status Once a year
Depression and Anxiety Screening1 12 and older To get help with any symptoms of anxiety or depression Once a year. Talk to your doctor about this screening during your wellness visit. Your coverage includes mental health benefits through Managed Health Network (MHN) (800) 663-9355, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (Pacific time).
Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap Test)1 21 and older (if not pregnant) To find any abnormal cell growth in the cervix or high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) Age 21–29: Every 3 years
Age 30–65: Switch to Pap test with HPV co-test every 5 years, or HPV test alone every 5 years (preferred). Or a Pap test only every 3 years.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Screening1 Age 16–24
Age 25 and older (if high risk)
To find sexually transmitted infections (STI) Age 16–24: Every year if sexually active
Age 25 and older: Discuss with your doctor if high risk
Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram)1, 2 35 and older (if high risk) To check for breast cancer Every 1–2 years or per your doctor's advice
Age 35–49: Discuss with your doctor if high risk or if you have a family history of breast cancer
Colorectal Cancer Screening1 If you are 45 or older, talk to your doctor about your risk for colorectal cancer To check for cancer or any problems in the colon or rectum before they become cancer

Check with your doctor to see which type of screening works best for you:

  • Once a year: High sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Every 5 years: Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Every 10 years: Colonoscopy
First Prenatal Visit3, 4 Within the first 3 months of pregnancy or 42 days of joining the UC Blue & Gold HMO To check on parent's health and to see how baby is growing At least once while pregnant and per your doctor's advice
Postpartum Visit3, 4 7–84 days after delivery date To check that parent is recovering properly after birth, discuss breast-feeding, postpartum depression, and family planning As often as your doctor suggests after your pregnancy

Women's Care Is Covered

Your UC Blue & Gold HMO not only covers women's health care but also allows women covered by the plan to participate in an innovative breast cancer study through a clinical trials program at UC medical centers.

As a UC Blue & Gold member, your coverage includes women's health services, such as mammograms, annual gynecological exams, family planning services, and other care. You can also take advantage of the Athena Breast Health Network, which serves hundreds of thousands of women who receive breast care at the five UC medical centers and their affiliates. Athena helps women evaluate and manage their breast cancer risk, access resources and develop a personal plan with their health care provider. When you receive a mammogram, you are also eligible to use Athena's breast health screening tool, which provides additional information about your risk of developing breast cancer. And if it is determined that you are at a high risk, you may receive counseling by phone or in person from an Athena breast health specialist.

Join the WISDOM Study to Understand Your Personal Risk of Breast Cancer

The WISDOM study aims to give physicians — and women — a realistic understanding of their personal risk of breast cancer as well as strategies to reduce their risk. The WISDOM study is testing a new, personalized approach to breast screening based on each woman's individual risk factors (including her age, genetics, lifestyle, health history, and breast density) to see if it is safer and more effective at finding breast cancers than the standard approach of annual mammograms beginning at the age of 40. If successful, fewer women will suffer from the anxiety of false positive mammograms and unnecessary biopsies. Healthy women age 40–74 with no prior breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) diagnosis are eligible to join the study.

Participation in WISDOM is at no cost to you, takes less than one hour a year, and can be done from the comfort of your home. If you or a covered family member is interested in participating in the WISDOM study, go to thewisdomstudy.org to learn more and sign up.

Tips for Staying Healthy

  • Get your flu shot before the end of the year to protect yourself and your loved ones.
  • Balance your diet with nutritious options, making sure it is low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins.
  • Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week.
  • Practice breathing exercises to manage stress and for your emotional health.
  • If you are feeling anxious or stressed, remember that mental health benefits are part of UC Blue & Gold coverage. Contact Managed Health Network (MHN) at (800) 663-9355, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (Pacific time).

1 Source: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Published Recommendations (retrieved June 28, 2021).

2 Source: American Cancer Society (ACS): ACS Recommendations for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer (retrieved June 28, 2021).

3 Source: NCQA: Prenatal and Postpartum Care (PPC)

4 Over the course of your pregnancy and after delivery, your doctor will recommend additional visits to check on your health and the health of your baby.

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