Adolescent & teen health

Teen with dad in canoe

Health care needs change as kids mature from childhood through adolescence. Preventive care, wellness and immunizations are just as important for this age group.

Annual wellness visits

Adolescents and teens should continue to have annual preventive care (wellness) visits. Preventive care is an important part of keeping children healthy into adulthood, so make sure visits remain a priority.

At annual visits, your PCP can:

  • Track changes in physical, mental and social development
  • Give vaccines to protect against diseases
  • Offer advice about healthy behaviors
  • Discuss nutrition, proper exercise and safety measures
  • Help coach your child for the transition into adulthood
  • Answer questions about overall health and wellbeing

Wellness visit vs. sport physical

An annual preventive (wellness) visit is an exam and health assessment to help monitor and treat a person’s level of health. A sports physical is an exam to help show that it is safe for an athlete to participate in a sport.

Immunizations

As kids grow, protection from some childhood vaccines begins to wear off. They also become at risk for added diseases. Staying up-to-date with recommended vaccines offers the best possible protection against common preventable diseases.

The CDC recommends vaccinating every adolescent against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) before their 13th birthday. Because the immune system has a stronger response in younger years, early vaccination can help protect adolescents from HPV - before exposure to the virus occurs.

Adolescent vaccinesWhy neededDose
Human papillomavirus (HPV)Protects against cervical, anal, oral and a few other rare cancersTwo-dose series completed by age 13
MeningococcalProtects against a bacterial infection that can make the lining of the brain and spinal cord swellOne by age 13
Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussisA combination vaccine that protects against three life-threatening bacterial diseasesOne by age 13
Meningococcal booster (ages 16-18)Meningococcal (MCV) booster (ages 16-18) Helps prevent meningococcal disease caused by serogroup BOne
Flu (all agesProtects against new strains of flu viruses - respiratory infections that can cause serious complications

One every fall or winter

For more information on the HPV Vaccine:

The CDC also recommends that adolescents receive the meningococcal and tetanus, diphtheria and
pertussis vaccines before age 13. A MCV booster is also recommended for ages 16-18.

 

You can go to your PCP, pharmacy, or both to be vaccinated. See our list of retail pharmacies that provide vaccinations. If you receive pharmacy benefits through a carrier other than WellFirst Health, be sure to confirm insurance coverage of vaccines provided at your pharmacy.

Guidelines to keep in mind:
  • No prescription is necessary if receiving vaccines at one of the listed retail pharmacies
  • Members can get vaccines from their PCP, pharmacy or a combination of both
  • Call your pharmacy to ask if a vaccine is in stock or available
  • Visit cdc.gov to learn more about vaccines and schedules
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 requires health insurers offering large group, small group and individual health insurance to provide benefits for the preventative screenings listed below without cost sharing. These preventative services may be subject to coverage limitations, and may change based on recommendations provided by the United States Preventative Services Task Force, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or the Health Resources and Services Administration. Additionally, these services are provided without cost sharing only when they are delivered by a network provider. Services performed for the primary reason of diagnosing, monitoring, or treating an illness or injury are not covered as preventative services, but may be covered under the applicable non-preventive services medical benefit, subject to your benefit plan provisions. Some exceptions may apply to grandfathered plans – please check with your plan administrator for details.