HHS touts Obama health law's free preventive care

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"Preventing illnesses before they become serious and more costly to treat helps Americans of all ages stay healthier," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement.

"No longer do Americans have to choose between paying for preventive care and groceries."

The Obama administration is beginning to celebrate the Affordable Care Act's third anniversary, which takes place this Saturday.

The law mandated that most health plans cover services such as standard immunizations, disease screenings and contraception for free — a provision critics say will increase premium costs. 

—This post was updated at 5:06 p.m. to reflect that not everyone who was covered for free preventive services has pursued them.