Free Preventive Services Draws Over 25 Million
Seniors, Others in Original Medicare
CMS credits Affordable Care Act for accomplishment
in first 11 months of 2013; 3.5 million received free Annual Wellness
Dec. 17, 2013 - More than 25.4 million senior
citizens and others covered by Original Medicare received at least one
preventive service at no cost to them during the first eleven months of
2013, because of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s news from the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services comes after last month’s announcement
showing that the health care law also saved seniors $8.9 billion on
their prescription drugs since the law’s enactment.
Moreover, in the first eleven months of 2013, more
than 3.5 million beneficiaries with Original Medicare took advantage of
the Annual Wellness Visit established by the health care law – a
significant increase from the 2.8 million who used this service by this
point in the year in 2012.
Today’s announcement exceeds the comparable figure
from last November, when an estimated 24.7 million people with Original
Medicare received one or more preventive benefits at no out of pocket
costs by this point in time during 2012.
When factoring in Medicare Advantage utilization
rates and a full year of experience, an estimated 34.1 million people
with Medicare took advantage of at least one preventive service in 2012.
Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients
had to pay part of the cost for many preventive health services. These
out-of-pocket costs made it difficult for people to get the important
preventive care they needed. For example, before the Affordable Care
Act, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 in cost-sharing
for a colorectal cancer screening.
Today, this important screening and many others are
covered at no cost to beneficiaries (with no deductible or co-pay). The
Affordable Care Act helps tear down a significant barrier for some
seniors to staying healthy and helps their care providers prevent,
identify and treat problems early.
“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,” said CMS
Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
“Prevention and early detection are so vital to
ensure that Americans are healthy and Medicare is healthy. The
Affordable Care Act makes Medicare stronger and improves the wellbeing
of millions of beneficiaries who have taken advantage of preventive
services and wellness visits.”
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