HHS Aims To Increase Awareness of No-Cost Preventive Services
On Monday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of a campaign to raise awareness among Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians that many preventive services are available at no cost, the Washington Post reports (Goldstein, Washington Post, 6/20).
Under the federal health reform law, Medicare beneficiaries as of Jan. 1 became eligible for many no-cost preventive services, including one-time annual check-ups for those enrolled in the Part B program (California Healthline, 3/17).
Recent CMS data indicate that between Jan. 1 and June 10, about one in six Medicare beneficiaries has received some kind of preventive service (Seaman, Reuters, 6/20). The data exclude enrollees with private health plan coverage through Medicare Advantage.
During that period, about 780,000 beneficiaries underwent an annual checkup and 16,000 received counseling for smoking cessation. In addition, about 2.3 million beneficiaries received mammograms, compared with about 150,000 in 2010. Similar increases were seen for beneficiaries receiving bone density tests, colon cancer screenings, Pap tests and pelvic exams (Washington Post, 6/20).
CMS estimates that increased use of preventive services by Medicare beneficiaries could lead to early detection and treatment of chronic illnesses. As a result, CMS estimates Medicare could save about two-thirds of the $2 trillion it currently spends on preventable long-term illnesses (Reuters, 6/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.