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Affordable Care Act offers free preventative health screenings

One of the most significant changes linked to the Affordable Care Act is preventive health services will be covered by insurance at no cost to the patient.
One of the most significant changes linked to the Affordable Care Act is preventive health services will be covered by insurance at no cost to the patient. 

Erika Edwards reports.

Come January 1st, a well checkup like this one will be free under the ACA.

By law dozens of preventive health tests will be covered by insurance, meaning no co-pay or deductible to meet in order to have these exams when patients see doctors in their network.

Dr. William Schaffner is a  professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt.
He says, "Some of these services range from colonoscopy, mammography, blood pressure screening, cholesterol determination, diabetes control, smoking cessation programs."

Also included, diet and obesity counseling, depression screening and STD testing. 

All vaccines will be covered.

Women can now be screened for osteoporosis and HPV at no cost to them, and those with a high risk for breast cancer can be counseled on genetic testing for the disease. 

Employer-based plans will also be required to offer these tests for free.

Doctor Reid Blackwelder is president elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians
He says, "a lot of this is about behavior and lifestyle modification, trying to prevent some of the diseases that are a huge drain on our healthcare system as well as deadly to our patients."

Screening tests will be offered to patients who meet the age requirements, which is fifty for a colonoscopy. When women reach forty they can start getting mammograms every one to two years.

Doctors say today's investment in preventive care *should* be returned in the form of lower health care costs, and longer, healthier lives.

Doctors say the impact of free preventive care on American's health and health care spending may not be seen for several years.

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