Medical costs of asthma about $50 billion

May 1, 2012 at 10:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- Annual medical expenses for 25 million Americans with asthma are estimated at $50 billion, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius said.

Although asthma cannot be cured, it is critical to take the necessary steps to reduce asthma attacks, Sebelius said in a statement.

"Successful management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an episode and following the advice of your healthcare provider," Sebelius said. "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to raise awareness about asthma and to provide tools to help families and communities get the information they need."

Having access to high-quality affordable healthcare is a must for those with asthma and, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the 7 million U.S. children who have asthma cannot be denied health insurance coverage by insurance companies on the basis of a pre-existing condition, Sebelius said.

"The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program -- coordinated by the National Institutes of Health --promotes improved asthma care and control through a focused outreach effort centered on written asthma action plans," Sebelius said. "These plans are a recommended but underutilized tool for managing asthma long-term and handling symptoms. These efforts include coordination with other federal agencies and key stakeholders and activities to promote resources and educational materials."

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