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New Private Health Plans Must Offer Preventive Care
Date:7/15/2010

hronic diseases are often preventable, and as a result of today's announcement, people can get the preventive care they need through their insurance and without any cost-sharing," Cutter said.

Next year, some 31 million Americans in new employer plans, and about 10 million people in individual plans, will benefit from these new regulations, DeParle said.

"The number of people in employer plans is expected to rise to 78 million by 2013, for a total of 88 million people whose prevention coverage would improve because of the new policy," she said.

The new regulations will affect new health plans starting on or after Sept. 23, 2010. Such plans must cover preventive services that have shown scientific evidence that they benefit health.

These plans can't charge a patient a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible when these preventive services are delivered by a doctor in a plan's network.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Coverage of preventive services rated "A" or "B" by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, such as breast and colon cancer screenings, screening for vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy, screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and tobacco-cessation counseling.
  • Coverage of routine vaccines ranging from recommended childhood vaccinations to periodic tetanus shots for adults.
  • Coverage of recommended preventive care for children, including regular pediatrician visits, vision and hearing screenings, developmental assessments, immunizations, and screening and counseling to deal with obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight.

Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, chief of the division of general internal medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, called the new regulations "a smart thing."

"We have known for a long time that co-payments significantly reduce the use of preventive services," he said.

"In terms of improving healt
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