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Time for a Check-up?

PHOTO: Most Ohioans can get preventive health services as part of the Affordable Care Act. Photo courtesy of CDC/ Douglas Jordan, M.A.
PHOTO: Most Ohioans can get preventive health services as part of the Affordable Care Act. Photo courtesy of CDC/ Douglas Jordan, M.A.
May 1, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Health care coverage is kicking in for the more than 80,000 Ohioans who enrolled in a marketplace plan.

But that doesn’t mean they have to wait for an illness to see a doctor points out Kathleen Gmeiner, project director of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage.

She says often due to cost, many people previously only used preventive services at about half of the recommended rate, but now health insurance plans are required to provide preventive services without a co-pay.

"The things that they need that are on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force List, which is a pretty long list, will be prescribed for them and they can get those benefits without having to pay that co-pay or meet the deductible," Gmeiner explains.

She adds even those who already had insurance have new benefits and protections under the law.

Those services include colonoscopy screenings for colon cancer, pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and vaccinations.

More information on benefits is available at healthcare.gov.

Gmeiner says prevention is crucial to good health, and putting off medical care can result in poor outcomes.

"Knowing where you are on your cholesterol can prevent heart disease,” she explains. “Knowing what your blood pressure is and keeping it under control can prevent stroke.

“So these are all things that help people either stay healthy or find something at an early stage when it can be treated."

Gmeiner says most polls found that besides the elimination of pre-existing conditions, the second most important piece of the Affordable Care Act was prevention coverage.

She encourages Ohioans who have not had a check-up recently to schedule one.

"It's almost if you think of like spring cleaning, well, it's kind of like this tune-up for your body,” she says. “And it's just a good time to schedule the appointment before you get into the busy part of the summer with children and vacations."

Chronic diseases, which are often mostly preventable, are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation's health spending.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH