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Health care reform: Preventive services

 

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People with new individual or group health insurance plans that start on or after Sept. 23, 2010, are going to find a host of preventive services covered at no charge as part of the health care reform act.

If you already have health insurance through work, you will not receive these benefits unless your group health insurance plan makes significant changes in either cost or benefits covered; plans without these changes will be grandfathered in and do not need to conform to new rules under health care reform. But if your employer adopts a new plan for its coming year, or makes a significant numberof changes to the plan, you will be eligible for these preventive services when your new plan year starts.

Some of the services covered under this provision include many screening procedures, such as;

  • For adults, health insurance plans will cover screenings for depression, alcohol misuse, high blood pressure, colorectal cancer, Type 2 diabetes, HIV, cholesterol, obesity and syphilis. For adult men who have at one time or now smoke, a one-time screening of abdominal aortic aneurysm will be available.
  • Women will be eligible for free screenings for osteoporosis, breast cancer through mammograms, anemia, cervical cancer, Hepatitis B, chlamydia and gonorrhea, plus Rh incompatibility and urinary tract infection screenings for pregnant women.
  • Children will be eligible for screenings for autism, developmental screenings for kids under age 3, hearing screenings for newborns, cervical dysplasia for sexually active females, hematocrit or hemoglobin screenings, HIV, vision, obesity and testing for lead; certain diagnostic screenings for newborns will also be available.

Also covered under the new health care reform provision are the following immunization vaccinations for both adults and children:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Human Papillomavirus
  • Influenza
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Tetnus, diptheria, and pertussis
  • Varicella

Other preventive services that will be covered include health, diet and weight counseling for both qualifying children and adults. Tobacco screenings and cessation help is available for adults who currently use tobacco, and alcohol and drug assessments for older children are also covered.

Many health insursance plans already offer coverage for preventive care, but these new measures will increase the likelihood that more Americans have access to health care sooner than ever before. The earlier conditions are diagnosed, the better the outcomes.

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