WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- More than 16 million on Medicare got at least one preventive service at no cost to them during the first six months of 2012, a U.S. health official says.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said this included 1.35 million who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided by the Affordable Care Act. Each person on Medicare gets an annual wellness visit with a doctor of his or her choice at no cost them.
In 2011, 32.5 million people on Medicare received one or more preventive benefits such as a cancer screening for colon cancer free of charge.
"Millions of Americans are getting cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services for free thanks to the healthcare law," Sebelius said in a statement. "These new benefits, made possible through the healthcare law, are helping people stay healthy by giving them the tools they need to prevent health problems before they happen."
Prior to 2011, people on Medicare had to pay co-pays or other payments for many preventive benefits such as cancer screenings. Due to the Affordable Care Act, preventive benefits are offered free of charge to beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay for seniors, Sebelius said.