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Showing posts from December, 2010

When do we get our free preventive health care?

One of the most exasperating things about the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as health care reform) is the fact that its many provisions don’t just start immediately, but rather are phased in over a really long period and at seemingly random intervals.

As a physician, I often hear my insured patients say things like “I can’t afford a colonoscopy right now” or “how much will a mammogram cost me?” I tell them that with the health care reform legislation they won’t have to pay for either one of these things. Unfortunately, my response has been a misleading oversimplification.

It is true that one of the most welcome parts of the Affordable Care Act is that recommended preventive care services will be paid for in full, without co-pays or cost sharing. But when?

Medicare and Medicaid programs will begin covering preventive care services at 100% on January 1, 2011. The services included are at this link: