Free preventive services for 25 million medicare beneficiaries

Free preventive services for >25 million medicare beneficiaries

(HealthDay)—As a result of the Affordable Care Act, during the first 11 months of 2013, more than 25.4 million people covered by Original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This announcement shows an increase from the comparable figure from November 2012, when an estimated 24.7 million with Original Medicare had benefitted from at least one preventive service at no cost. In addition, more than 3.5 million beneficiaries with Original Medicare took advantage of the health law-established Annual Wellness Visit, marking a significant increase from the 2.8 million who had used this service by the same point in 2012.

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients had to pay part of the cost for many preventive health services; for example, up to $160 in cost-sharing for a colorectal cancer screening. This and other screening tests are now covered at no cost to beneficiaries.

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of seniors have been able to receive important preventive services and screenings such as an annual wellness visit, screening mammograms and colonoscopies, and smoking cessation at no cost to them," CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner, said in a statement. "Prevention and early detection are so vital to ensure that Americans are healthy and Medicare is healthy."

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