First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new preventative health care program wherein many medical services will be provided by insurance companies without a deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance. The estimated cost savings by initiating preventative healthcare is expected to exceed $100 billion per year. Over 100,000 deaths per year will be prevented by increasing access to “colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent stroke,” according to Secretary Sebelius. As of September 23, 2010, new rules will force private health insurance plans to remove the extras fees such as deductibles and co-pays for preventative healthcare services on new health insurance plans. These rules are a direct result of the comprehensive helath care reform package that was recently signed into law by President Obama.
Michelle Obama noted that “too many people aren’t getting the checkups and screenings they need to prevent cancer.” She adds that this reform will help lower costs and hold insurance companies accountable and “it will give our families the security that our insurance coverage will be there when we need it most.” Michelle Obama notes that healthcare reform “makes it illegal to drop your coverage when you get sick or to drop your children from a plan due to a preexisting condition” and that “the best way to control healthcare costs is to prevent people from getting sick.” She listed a few of the services that will no longer be subject to co-pays and deductibles on new private healthcare insurance plans: high blood pressure treatment, measuring BMI (body mass index), mammograms, colonoscopies, cervical screenings, childhood immunizations. Michelle Obama paid special attention to BMI measurements as a means to reduce childhood obesity noting that this health issue is urgently needing attention.