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Tips for avoiding costly preventive care surprises

Tips for avoiding costly surprises

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

• Call your insurance plan — the 1-800 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.

Here 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

Associated Press

Tips for avoiding costly preventive care surprises 12/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 7:35pm]
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