The Patient Access and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Preventative services were a major component included in the law. These services include 15 new benefits which are available without charging the patient copayment or coinsurance. Several are also targeted towards cancer prevention and overall wellness such as colorectal cancer screenings for adults over 50, pap smears and mammograms for women, diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease, immunization vaccines, obesity screening and counseling for all adults and tobacco use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users.

Access to these services is critical because prevention improves the overall health of our nation, and also helps to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. The ACA also instituted the Prevention and Public Health Fund which is designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent disease, detect it early, manage conditions before they become several, and provide states and communities with the resources they need to promote healthy living.

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that 76 million Americans in private health insurance plans are newly eligible to receive expanded coverage for one or more recommended preventive health care services without paying out of pocket because of the ACA. These preventive services are important to all Americans, but particularly to the 57 percent or 4.5 million people enrolled in healthcare marketplace plans were who previously uninsured. Read the full HHS report here and become a Prevent Cancer Foundation advocate today.