Do Annual Physicals Really Require You to Pay Deductible?

Many individuals with marketplace plans are facing confusion regarding the coverage of annual physicals. They assume that these physicals are fully covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but in some cases, they are being subjected to deductibles. Let’s delve into the details of this issue and clarify the coverage of annual physicals under ACA.

Annual Physicals under ACA

The ACA mandates that all Marketplace plans cover a set of essential health benefits, including preventive services like annual physicals. These physicals are designed to detect and prevent health problems at an early stage, promoting overall health and well-being.

When Deductibles May Apply

While annual physicals are generally covered without deductibles, there are certain situations where you may be required to pay a deductible. Here are a few scenarios:
– New Patient Visits: If you are visiting a doctor for the first time, they may charge an additional fee for establishing a new patient relationship. This fee may be subject to your deductible.
– Additional Services: Annual physicals typically include basic examinations and screenings. However, if your doctor performs any additional services during the visit, such as blood work or imaging tests, these services may be subject to your deductible.
– Diagnosis Code: The diagnosis code assigned by your doctor can impact coverage. If the diagnosis code indicates that you have a specific medical condition or complaint, the visit may be considered a medical visit rather than a preventive physical and could be subject to your deductible.

Understanding Your Coverage

To avoid any surprises, it is crucial to understand your health insurance coverage thoroughly. Here are a few steps you can take:

– Review Your Plan Summary: Carefully read your plan summary to determine the specific coverage for preventive services, including annual physicals.
– Contact Your Insurance Company: If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your insurance company for clarification.
– Seek Professional Guidance: If you are still unsure about your coverage, consider seeking assistance from a licensed insurance agent who can help you navigate the complexities of health insurance.
– Check Your EOB: When you receive your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) after a visit, review it carefully to ensure that the services you received are covered as expected.


Annual physicals are essential for maintaining good health, and the ACA requires that these services be covered without deductibles. However, there may be certain circumstances where you could be subject to deductibles. By understanding your coverage, asking questions, and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can ensure that you receive the healthcare services you need without any unexpected financial burdens.

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