Take Advantage of Your ACA Preventive Care Benefits

Take Advantage of Your ACA Preventive Care Benefits

We’ve quoted Ben Franklin before, but his words are still as true as ever: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s free, preventive medicine coverage -- as an adjunct to your smart lifestyle choices of no Food Felons (they’re trans and saturated fats, added sugar and syrups and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole), no tobacco, and no smoking anything, walking at least 30 extra minutes daily (heading for 10,000 steps a day), and de-stressing with mindful meditation -- can head off or reverse a lot of health problems. For example, if guys with elevated LDL cholesterol (but no symptoms) are identified and put on a lipid-lowering medication, that could prevent 25 percent of non-fatal heart attacks; and if everyone over the age of 50 had regular colon cancer screenings, more than 60 percent of deaths from that cancer could be avoided. 

That’s why it’s good for your health -- and the country’s healthcare bill -- that the ACA provides preventive screenings, tests and counseling for abdominal aortic aneurysm, alcohol misuse, breast cancer, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, colorectal cancer, depression, type 2 diabetes, obesity and tobacco use, as well as sexually transmitted infections. And it pays for vaccination against hepatitis A and B, herpes zoster, human papillomavirus (HPV), flu, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (TDP) and chickenpox. (In Canada, the Task Force on Preventive Care recommends their government-provided preventive services.) So, ask your doctor about taking advantage of the ACA’s preventive health care services and screenings: you’ll enjoy better health and a younger RealAge.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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