Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today that about 76 million Americans in private health insurance plans are newly eligible to receive expanded coverage for one or more recommended preventive health care services, such as a mammogram or flu shot, with cost sharing, because of the Affordable Care Act. The new data were released in a report from HHS today.
Under the Affordable Care Act most health plans must cover a set of recommended preventive services like screening tests and immunizations at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers. This includes Marketplace private insurance plans.
"Today's findings are just one more indicator that the Affordable Care Act is delivering impact for millions of people nationwide," said Secretary Burwell. "Seventy-six million is more than just a number. For millions of Americans, it means no longer having to put off a mammogram for an extra year. Or it means catching a problem early enough that it's treatable."
Today's data are broken down across states, age, race and ethnic group. For example, the report finds that approximately 30 million more women are now eligible to receive coverage for the recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs. Altogether, a total of 48.5 million women are estimated to benefit from free preventive services. Covered preventive services for women include well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling, and FDA-approved prescription contraception with no cost-sharing.
Recent evidence from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics (IMS) shows that an additional 24.4 million prescriptions for oral contraceptives were dispensed with no co-pays in 2013 compared to 2012, translating to an estimated $483.3 million reduction in out-of-pocket spending by women.
Of the 76 million Americans with expanded access to free preventive services:
18.6 million are children receiving expanded preventive services coverage for immunization vaccines for children from birth to age 18; vision screening; hearing screening for newborns; behavioral assessments; obesity screening; and height, weight, and body mass index measurements.
29.7 million are women receiving expanded preventive services coverage for cervical cancer screening, mammograms for women over 40, recommended immunizations, healthy diet counseling for women at higher risk for chronic disease and obesity screening and counseling; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use screening; well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling, and FDA-approved contraception with no cost sharing.
28.1 million are men receiving expanded preventive services coverage for recommended immunizations such as flu shots, colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50, healthy diet counseling for those at higher risk for chronic disease, obesity screening and counseling, cholesterol and blood pressure screening, screening for HIV, depression screening, and tobacco-use screening.