Disease prevention

The Affordable Care Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld provides incentives to fitness and wellness not previously addressed in health insurance policies. A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted provisions of the law designed to promote “wellness, fitness and prevention.” Many of these provisions have been in effect since the inception of the law. Under this law there is a long list of wellness services available to insured’s free of any co-payment.

The wellness services that are available as part of the insurance contract that require no co-payment include:

  • For adults: Screening for colorectal cancer and depression, immunizations, obesity counseling, help quitting smoking
  • For women: Screenings for gestational diabetes and cervical cancer, well-woman visits
  • For children: Behavioral assessments, body mass index measurements, vision and lead screening
  • For seniors: Under Medicare, bone mass measurement, prostate cancer screening, cholesterol, and cardiovascular screening, flu shots.

The article states “a large portion of (current) healthcare costs are attributable to preventable disease.” Research has shown that when cost barriers are removed, “people are much more likely to use (such) services.” According to the Kaiser foundation this has been demonstrated over many years.

Preventative medicine saves lives and in turn reduces costs. Examine any proposed plan put forth during the political campaign presidential, congressional and senate) to be certain that it contains a wellness component. If it does not, how can it be considered an improvement? Ask yourself if it is a step forward or backward. Imagine a future where healthcare references disease prevention instead of disease treatment.

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