News Headlines Article

Is an Annual Physical Necessary?
The Wall Street Journal

Every year on his wedding anniversary Louis Sinclair pays a visit to his family physician for what has become a ritual: the annual physical.

“That way I don’t forget my anniversary and I don’t forget my physical,” says the 66-year-old in Raleigh, N.C., who has been getting regular checkups since he was about 40.

About a year and a half ago, the doctor diagnosed Mr. Sinclair with atrial fibrillation and sent him to a cardiologist. A CT-scan picked up a tumor on his lung that turned out to be cancerous. “I would have never known that if I hadn’t gone to my physical and followed up on this stuff,” says Mr. Sinclair, who owns a commercial real-estate company. He says the tumor was removed and he now seems to be fine.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say they get a physical exam every year, according to a 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 1,500 people. The federal Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover annual physicals free of charge.