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Millions Got Free Preventive Care Due to Health Law, HHS Says

MONDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- About 71 million Americans with private health insurance plans received at least one free preventive health service -- such as a mammogram or flu shot -- in 2011 and 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Monday.

In addition, about 34 million people in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans also received at least one free preventive health service -- such as an annual wellness visit -- due to the health care law, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In total, about 105 million Americans have been helped by the preventive services coverage improvements in the Affordable Care Act, said the HHS, which is marking the third anniversary of passage of the law.

"Preventing illnesses before they become serious and more costly to treat helps Americans of all ages stay healthier," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a government news release.

The HHS claims that preventive services, consumer protections, prescription drug savings for seniors and other reforms under the health care law are contributing to the slowest growth in health care costs in 50 years.

In 2014, it will be illegal for health insurers to deny coverage to any American or to charge more because a person has a pre-existing condition, potentially affecting coverage for 129 million people, the HHS added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about health insurance.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, news release, March 18, 2013

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