Obama administration estimates 86 million people benefited from health law's prevention benefits last year

About 86 million Americans took advantage of the healthcare reform law's prevention benefits for Medicare beneficiaries and people with private insurance last year, the Obama administration said in two reports released Wednesday.

One report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that an estimated 32.5 million — almost three out of four — Medicare beneficiaries took advantage of the law's coverage of prevention with no cost sharing last year. These include 6 million mammography screenings, 2.8 million bone mass measurements and 1.2 million pap tests — all of which were previously subject to deductibles or co-payments.

Another 54 million people in private insurance are estimated to have taken advantage of the law's expanded coverage of at least some preventive services, according to a report from the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These include pediatrician visits, cancer screenings and immunizations.

"Americans of all ages can now get the preventive services they need, like mammograms and the new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge, as a result of the new healthcare law," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement accompanying the reports. "With more people taking advantage of these benefits, more lives can be saved, and costly, and often burdensome, diseases can be prevented or caught earlier."


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