HHS praises reform’s free preventive services

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act turns three this week, the Obama administration is praising the law for slowing down health costs while providing more value for consumers.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that roughly 71 million Americans in private health insurance plans received at least one free preventive health care service—such as a mammogram or flu shot—in 2011 and 2012 because of health reform.

Additionally, an estimated 34 million Americans in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have received at least one preventive service.

The data comes from a report released Monday by HHS. The administration is beginning to celebrate the law’s third anniversary, which takes place this Saturday.

Preventive services include colonoscopies; cholesterol and blood pressure screenings; Pap smears and mammograms for women; well-child visits; flu shots; and screenings for sexually-transmitted infections and HIV.

The HHS report used information from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey and the most recent data from the Census Bureau. The report found women benefited most from the law’s expanded preventative services coverage, with about 27 million taking advantage of the service. About 26 million men and 18 million children received a preventive service.

Sebelius says preventive services, consumer protections and other reforms under PPACA are contributing to the slowest growth in health care costs in 50 years.

“Preventing illnesses before they become serious and more costly to treat helps Americans of all ages stay healthier,” Sebelius said in a statement. “No longer do Americans have to choose between paying for preventive care and groceries.”

The full report is available here.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com