Each year chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending.
A rare area of agreement during last year’s heath care debate in Congress was the need for preventative care. If people got free preventative care, like cancer screenings, cholesterol screenings and physicians’ advice about high blood pressure and obesity, we could save millions of dollars in future health care costs and avoid those costly emergency room visits.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice-President’s wife, announced on Monday new prevention benefits that will effect all new health insurance plans.
Starting in September, insurance plans will be required to pay the entire cost of recommended, preventive services. That means that, without paying a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance, many Americans will be able to take the preventive steps needed to keep themselves and their families healthy.
The two also unveiled a new website, HealthCare.gov, a site that not only provides information about the new rule for prevention and what services will be included, but also lets you compare hospital data and shows you a comprehensive list of the insurance options available to you, your family, or your small business.
CNN says, for children, the new prevention rules will apply to regular pediatrician visits, vision and hearing screening, developmental assessments and immunizations in addition to screening for obesity.
An AP report says the Obama administration estimates “41 million Americans will benefit initially, with the number projected to rise to 88 million by 2013.”
But, according to the AP report, “Better preventive care may be an investment, but it still carries an upfront cost: Premiums will go up by 1.5 percent on average, as spending for the services is spread broadly across an entire pool of insured people.”
Another hitch, said a CNN report: They will apply only to insurance plans created after September 23 of this year and many large company plans, which usually offer solid preventive benefits, will be exempt from the requirements for the time being.