In a report, HHS announced that more than 25.7 million people in the traditional Medicare program received preventive services for free in 2011.
HHS report highlights preventive-care savings
The study noted that figure could be even higher if Medicare Advantage beneficiaries used preventive services at the same rate as beneficiaries in the traditional program. According to HHS, 9.3 million Americans were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan last year that offered preventive services.
“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 healthcare law,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release. “With more people taking advantage of these benefits, more lives can be saved, and costly, and often burdensome, disease can be prevented or caught earlier.”
Included in the report is a state breakdown that compares how many Medicare Part B beneficiaries used preventive services with the total number of beneficiaries in that state. The study also lists the number of Medicare Advantage enrollees in each state and those with free preventive care services. Meanwhile, the report said that about 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries saw discounts on prescription drugs in the doughnut-hole coverage gap. HHS estimates that seniors and people with disabilities received more than $2.1 billion, or about $604 per beneficiary, in discounts last year.
HHS' analysis of preventive services was released not long after the Obama administration found itself on the defensive regarding a mandate that contraceptive services be included as a part of preventive services in health insurance plans. Last week, President Barack Obama announced a revision to the rule that said religious hospitals and charities are not required to offer or pay for such services if they have a religious objection to it. Instead, insurance companies would need to offer and cover those costs.
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