The Value of Preventative Care

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (www.cms.gov/medicare)  recently reported that some of the cost of Medicare’s Part D prescription coverage has been offset by fewer emergency room visits and hospital stays.  In other words, enabling Seniors to get drugs to manage chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes reduces the need for visits to the hospital to treat those conditions.

Also this week, AARP reports that persons over 65 who regularly see a primary care doctor live longer, healthier lives.  Their regular communication with a medical professional who understands their overall medical condition and is able to treat symptoms before they turn serious contributes to both a higher quality of life and cost savings for the health care system.  See http://www.aarp.org/health/doctors-hospitals/info-07-2011/primary-care-linked-to-longevity-health-discovery.html.

My March 7, 2011 blog post described Medicare’s new Wellness benefit, which covers the cost of an annual wellness physical and some diagnostic tests, with no deductible or co-pay. It is good news for Seniors that policy makers are finally recognizing that preventative care and management of chronic conditions is not only good for patients but manages cost for the entire system.   It is up to us to utilize all of these benefits to maintain good health and quality of life.

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