Why Preventive Care Matters

September 5, 2013

Being uninsured means you often “ride out” your sicknesses, or only get treatment when things are really bad. Been there. Done that. Ugh. But wouldn’t it be great to have a doctor check up on you when you’re feeling relatively good, and give you advice on how to keep feeling good, or even better? Yup. That’s called preventive care, and having health insurance that covers important screening tests can actually save lives.

FAQ

This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one-quarter of all heart and stroke deaths each year are considered preventable. Let me say that again: Out of 800,000 Americans who died from heart attacks or a stroke, 200,000 happened because the signs of heart disease weren’t caught early enough.

One out of every five Americans aged 18 to 64 is uninsured, including many of these these stroke or heart attack victims. Face it: If you have health insurance, you’re more likely to go see a doctor. That’s what the Affordable Care Act aims to do: making quality health care accessible to everybody. All plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace must include preventive measures like blood pressure and cholesterol screenings widely accessible to Americans, so that there can be early intervention and treatment. In fact, there are 15 preventive services for adults, plus an additional 7 more for women (including mammograms and pregnancy tests), and 26 total for children, including vaccinations. (Read the full list of preventive services here.) Best of all, they’re all free.

Dr. Thomas Friedan, head of the CDC, said in regards to the health care law helping to lower the heart disease rate: “We do expect that if people [age] 40 to 64 get insured, get care and get good care, we will see significant reductions.”

So in 2014, once you get covered, you can schedule that checkup, and get checked out from head to toe. Sweeeeet.

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