US health reform provides free preventive services, but battles loom

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 20 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3904
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    When provisions of the US health reform legislation take effect on 23 September, new insurance plans will have to offer consumers 45 free screenings and other preventive services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force, among many other preventive services.

    US consumers use preventive services at only about half the recommended rate, said the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

    New plans will have to cover all of the task force’s 21 “A” graded and 24 “B” recommendations free of charge.

    The recommendations differ depending on the recipient’s age, sex, and risk factors. Among the “A” recommendations are aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease; screening pregnant women for bacteriuria, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis B and testing for Rh incompatibility; blood pressure testing; cervical cancer screening; cholesterol measurement; colorectal cancer screening; folic acid supplementation for premenopausal women; screening newborns for sickle cell disease, hypothyroidism, and phenylketonuria; prophylactic treatment of newborns for …

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