Having health insurance could save you more than just money; it might end up saving your life. According to recent figures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans who have health insurance are up to three times more likely to receive life-saving preventive care services.
The top ten leading causes of death in the United States account for nearly 75 percent of deaths nationwide, but preventive care is available for nine of those ten causes. Seeking preventive care can truly be a life-saving decision, and according to the CDC, having health insurance increases the likelihood that you will pursue these services. Researchers found that the type of insurance doesn’t matter. Those with private insurance received the same preventive care as those with Medicare and Medicaid.
Researchers examined several preventive services including blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, mammograms, colon and cervical cancer screenings, diet counseling, and hepatitis A or B vaccines. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must cover these preventive services at no cost to the patient as long as they are delivered by a network provider. The results showed that patients with insurance were:
- 2 times more likely to receive dietary counseling, have their cholesterol checked or be screened for diabetes
- 2.5 times more likely to have a mammogram
- 3 times more likely to be screened for colon cancer
Income was another factor that influenced whether people received preventive services. Results showed that women with higher incomes were 43 percent more likely to be screened for breast cancer and 25 percent more likely to be screened for cervical cancer. Men and women with higher incomes were also 25 percent more likely to be screened for colon cancer or get a diabetes or cholesterol screening.
Lead author and health scientist, Jared Fox, says the Affordable Care Act is making preventive care more accessible to Americans by providing them with the opportunity to have coverage and reducing their out-of-pocket expenses. "Colorectal cancer screening is one of the more expensive services available, so it could be the case that for services like that, it could be that more people will take advantage if they no longer have a co-pay," he said (Source: HealthDay).
Having insurance is a great first step towards receiving the best care possible, but it’s also important to stay current with routine wellness visits. Your primary care physician can evaluate your current health and your medical history to determine which preventive services are right for you. If you’re overdue for a visit to the doctor, schedule an appointment today. Insurance can save you money, but only good health care can buy you peace of mind.