By Mayra Alvarez, Director of Public Health Policy, HHS. Crosspost from Healthcare.gov
You take your car in for a yearly smog check, change the battery in your kitchen’s smoke detector, and file your taxes. These are all things that keep your life running smoothly and help prevent problems before they start.
But what about you? Do you use health services to help prevent illness? Unfortunately Americans use preventive health services at about half the recommended rate, often because of cost concerns. This is dangerous to our health because chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and are often preventable.
Now, under the Affordable Care Act, you and your family may be eligible for important preventive services – for free. If you or your family enrolled in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010, then your plan is required to cover certain recommended preventive services without charging you a copay, co-insurance or deductible. This means wellness and prevention services are now free and more accessible for you and your family.
For example, you may now have access to free preventive services such as:
- Blood pressure readings, cholesterol tests, and nutrition counseling
- Many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
- Flu and pneumonia shots
- Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, hepatitis, and meningitis
For people enrolled in Medicare, you may now qualify for a yearly wellness exam and many preventive services for free. More than 150,000 seniors and others with Medicare have received an annual wellness visit. The health care law is bringing new preventive benefits while helping to cut costs for seniors and keep them healthy.