The Checkup
8:10 am
Tue December 17, 2013

How Preventive Care is Changing Under the Affordable Care Act

Credit Credit: Compfight / Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers provide 45 preventive services to patients free of charge.  What does this mean for the health of individual patients?  What it could mean for the future health of the U.S., as a society And how much is it all going to cost?

The Affordable Care Act requires that private insurers fully cover the costs of 45 recommended preventive services, such as obesity counseling, mammograms, certain vaccinations, and contraceptives.  Some of that might change–the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about whether employers with religious objections can legally refuse coverage for contraception.  But right now, all 45 preventive services are offered without patients being charged a co-pay or a deductible.  That provision went into effect in September 2010.   

We wanted to find out: What does this mean for the health of individual patients?  What it could mean for the future health of the US, as a society?  And how much is it all going to cost? 

Sheilah Kast talks about this with Kathy Hempstead, program officer and public health expert with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She also talks with Stacy Fruhling, the Chief Administrative Officer for People's Community Health Centers, which has locations around Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. 

Fruhling says preventive care is important, but that people also have to know how to put the best practices into place.  "It's not just about having that health insurance and having those screenings, but do you live in an environment that's safe? If your doctor says 'you should get more exercise,' is it safe to walk in your neighborhood?" 

You can view the full list of preventive services that are fully covered here.  

Produced by Stephanie Hughes

Our series ‘The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.