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Health

HHS Estimates 1.3 million Kansans Eligible For Free Preventive Care

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Federal officials estimate that more than 1.3 million Kansans now have private health insurance that includes preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more.

To meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans must offer a range of preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient--things like an annual wellness check-up, cancer screenings, and recommended immunizations.

The idea is to encourage people to catch serious health conditions like cancer or diabetes as early as possible.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas spokeswoman MaryBeth Chambers is somewhat startled by that estimate of 1.3 million people, in a state whose population is only 2.9 million.

“That number just seems high to me, to say that 1.3 million Kansans are in health plans that offer no-cost preventive services to them,” she says.

Chambers says the preventive services coverage only applies to health plans that were new on or after September 20th, of 2010.

Plans that were in effect before that date are grandfathered in, and don’t have to offer those benefits. Chambers says 80 per cent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas members are in those older plans.

Since the company is by far the largest health insurer in Kansas, she doesn’t see how the federal estimate could be accurate.