How to avoid costly surprises for preventive care - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

How to avoid costly surprises for preventive care

Experts offer the following tips for avoiding surprise medical bills for preventive care:

  • Call your insurance plan - the 800-number on the back of your insurance card - to find out whether the plan must comply with the Affordable Care Act. If your plan is "grandfathered," it's exempt from the law's requirement to pay for preventive care.
  • When scheduling an appointment or talking with your doctor, clarify that you're coming in for a covered preventive service and you don't expect to be charged. The doctor must be in your health plan's network.
  • If you're hit with an unexpected bill, call the doctor's office and ask how the bill was submitted. Was it submitted as a preventive care service?
  • Complain to your state's insurance department if you believe you've been billed in error.

The following is a partial list of services that should be covered without copays or other cost-sharing by the patient:

  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Aspirin use for men and women of certain ages
  • Blood pressure screening for all adults
  • Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults, starting at age 50
  • Depression screening for adults -Type 2 diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure -Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
  • HIV screening for all adults at higher risk -Flu shots and other recommended vaccines for adults and children -Obesity screening and counseling for adults and children
  • Tobacco use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users -Breast cancer mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40 -Cervical cancer screening for sexually active women
  • Folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
  • Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
  • Autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months
  • Depression screening for adolescents
  • Fluoride supplements for children without fluoride in their water source
  • Hearing screening for all newborns

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Georgetown University Health Policy Institute

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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