About 16.5 million people with traditional Medicare took advantage of at least one free preventive service during the first six months of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Affordable Care Act eliminated coinsurance and the Part B deductible for recommended preventive services among Medicare beneficiaries: abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, alcohol misuse screening and counseling, bone mass measurement, cardiovascular disease screening, cardiovascular disease behavioral therapy, cervical and vaginal cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, depression screening, diabetes screening, diabetes self-management training, glaucoma testing, HIV screening, mammograms, nutrition therapy services, obesity screening and counseling, prostate cancer screening, sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling, shots (influenza, heptatitis B, pneumococcal), tobacco use cessation counseling and the annual wellness visit.
HHS also announced that through the ACA, out-of-pocket savings on medications for people with Medicare have continued to grow. More than 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved more than $7 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole since the law was enacted, for an average of $1,061.
People with Medicare who are in the donut hole receive discounts and some coverage when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase. The ACA gave those who reached the donut hole in 2010 a one-time $250 check, then began phasing in discounts and coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs beginning in 2011. The law will provide additional savings each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.
More on free preventive services in Medicare: www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10110.pdf.
And a summary of free preventive services available to all adults under the ACA: www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-preventive-care-benefits.