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Millions of Medicare beneficiaries receive free preventive care

Wednesday December 18, 2013
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More than 25.4 million people covered by Original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them during the first 11 months of 2013, according to new data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“Thanks to [terms of] the Affordable Care Act, millions of seniors have been able to receive important preventive services and screenings such as an annual wellness visit, screening mammograms and colonoscopies, and smoking cessation at no cost to them,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, RN, BSN, MHA, said in a news release.

“Prevention and early detection are so vital to ensure that Americans are healthy and Medicare is healthy.”

The figure represents an increase relative to last November, when an estimated 24.7 million people with Original Medicare had received one or more preventive benefits with no out-of-pocket costs in 2012. When factoring in Medicare Advantage utilization rates and a full-year-long span, an estimated 34.1 million people with Medicare capitalized on at least one preventive service in 2012.

In the first 11 months of 2013, more than 3.5 million beneficiaries with Original Medicare specifically took advantage of the annual wellness visit established by the healthcare law. That total is a significant increase from the 2.8 million who used this service by this point in 2012.

Before the ACA, Medicare recipients had to pay part of the cost for many preventive health services, according to the CMS news release. For example, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 in cost-sharing for a colorectal cancer screening. Today, this important screening and many others are covered at no cost to beneficiaries.

State-by-state breakdown: http://downloads.cms.gov/files/Preventive_Services_Utilization_by_State_Jan-Nov_2013.pdf

Medicare free preventive services: http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-and-screening-services.html


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