Preventive Vs. Diagnostic Services

There is a lot of confusion surrounding preventive and diagnostic services.

Preventive services are ordered by a doctor to help prevent you from getting sick. A flu shot is one example of a preventive service.

Diagnostic services are ordered by a doctor to help diagnose what is causing your specific symptoms. An example of a diagnostic service is an x-ray performed on a sore foot to see if you have any broken bones.

Preventive services include routine screenings or tests, while diagnostic services address specific symptoms and help doctors recommend a course of treatment to treat a specific diagnosis.


Here is a video that explains the differences between preventive and diagnostic services.

Depending on your health insurance plan, preventive services are often covered at no cost to the member. Out-of-pocket costs apply to diagnostic services.

Please call the phone number listed on the back of your Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota ID card if you have any questions about if a service was preventive or diagnostic, or how your coverage works.

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.