Preventive healthcare services including immunizations, colonoscopies, cancer screenings and dietary counseling will be made available for free, under the new insurance plans starting in September.
The new rules were issued by first lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday.
Preventive healthcare may help combat chronic diseases
The highly-anticipated benefit in the healthcare law is intended to nip the diseases in the bud and therefore bring down the eventual cost of health services.
“Services like these will go a long way in preventing chronic illness,” said the First Lady.
Health plans initiated after Sept. 23 will cover preventive health services at no extra cost to the consumer. The alteration will not benefit people who stay on their current insurance plans.
Americans not using the recommended preventive health services
Americans do not really benefit from the available preventive health services. Only half the rate of recommended preventive services are actually put to use, according to a research cited by the White House.
Chronic diseases, which account for 75 percent of the health costs in America and are responsible for 70 percent of the deaths each year, can often be avoided. But they prevail due to lack of preventive measures on the right time.
The new reformation may see a lot more Americans making use of preventive health care, as it becomes available to them without any out-of-pocket cost.
We are shifting form health care coverage meaning coverage for the sick to meaning coverage to keep you well -- Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House director of health care reform
Services included in insurance plans
The preventive care services, expected to be covered by various insurance plans, include:
• Vaccination for measles, polio, meningitis, and HPV (human papilloma virus)
• Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests
• Cancer screenings
• Mammograms for women over age 40
• Pap smears for cervical cancer prevention
• Colon cancer screening tests for adults over 50 years of age
• Counseling on depression, smoking cessation, alcohol abuse, weight loss, healthy eating, and depression treatments
• Shots for flu and pneumonia prevention
• Pregnancy related services like screening and counseling
• Vision and hearing assessments and developmental assessments
• Body mass index (BMI) screenings for obesity
“We are shifting form health care coverage meaning coverage for the sick to meaning coverage to keep you well,” said Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House director of health care reform.
The aim is “to create a healthier country,” she says.