Medicare and HealthCare Reform: Preventive Services Now CoveredJun 6th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare
SCJ posted an article last month that featured advantages in healthcare reform for senior citizens on Medicare. One of the new medical services described was annual preventative care exams. The PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) brings relief to millions of seniors for whom preventive care means early identification of disease and greater opportunity for treatment and recovery.
Starting in September 2010, new Medicare insurance plans and current plans that make specified changes will cover preventive services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force as category A or B ratings. A person with an A rating has conclusive evidence showing benefit of receiving the services; Category B shows very strong evidence of benefit of receiving the services.
Then beginning January 1, 2011, these services will be covered by Medicare with no copay or deductible.
Many Category A and B ratings for the elderly have been subjected to high copays and deductibles; these are preventive services like colonoscopy and mammography. Some were not covered at all.
Older adults have a much higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes, aging-eye disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, than the younger generations; as a result, the need for preventive services increases with age. Improved coverage means older and more vulnerable seniors will have access to preventative services starting in 2011.
Seniors and their medical practitioners will now be able to make appropriate choices about medical care based on the need for preventive services, rather than whether or not the elder can pay for the service. Many senior citizens on poverty level fixed incomes will no longer have to choose between food and shelter or medical care.
SCJ believes this is what healthcare reform is all about.