Coloradans starting to see benefit of Health Care Reform

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the Affordable Care Act provided approximately 973,000 Colorado residents with at least one new free preventive service in 2011 through their private health insurance plans.

Sebelius also announced that an estimated 381,575 Colorado residents with Medicare received at least one free preventive benefit in 2011, including the new Annual Wellness Visit, since the health reform law was enacted.

The new data were released in two new reports from HHS.

“Americans of all ages can now get the preventive services they need, like mammograms and the new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge, as a result of the new health care law,” Secretary Sebelius said in a prepared statement. “With more people taking advantage of these benefits, more lives can be saved, and costly, and often burdensome, diseases can be prevented or caught earlier.”

The Affordable Care Act requires many insurance plans to provide coverage without cost sharing to enrollees for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults. The law also makes proven preventive services free for most people on Medicare.

“It is great to see that the things people want from Obamacare are working,” said Dede de Percin, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

She said there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the Affordable Care Act and that a lot of people don’t make the connection between the Act and benefits they get through their private insurance.

“A lot of people are beginning to notice that they now get free preventative care services but they don’t connect that to federal health care reform. A lot of people still are not going to their doctors for annual screenings because they are afraid of the cost. But now people can take advantage of the fact that a lot of preventive services are now free to the consumer,” de Percin said.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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