Annual physicals can cause unnecessary stress
Luckily, insurance usually covers the cost of a yearly physical. But sometimes, the exams can be more expensive than just the doctor's visit copay.
"By seeing someone unnecessarily, too frequently, there's a danger of over-testing, over-diagnosing patients, and ordering tests that are not necessary," Dr. Thaler says.
These follow-up tests can be expensive, and Dr. Thaler says they could even produce a false positive. "Not only does it increase costs, but it's going to lead to heightened anxiety in your patients," he adds. If you're using your annual physical as a way to run every test under the sun, only to find nothing wrong, there's a good chance you're throwing your money away.
OK, so when should I get them then?
You can't avoid going to the doctor forever, though you can certainly try to cheat death. But you can put it off if you're young, healthy, and don't engage in any risky health behaviors like smoking or drinking too much -- Dr. Thaler says every three to five years should be sufficient.