The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has dramatically increased children’s preventive healthcare while reducing out-of-pocket costs. A new study carried out by the Boston University School of Public Health has revealed this fact.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open and found that checkups including out-of-pocket costs dropped from 54.2 percent of visits in 2010 (the same year the ACA passed) to 14.5 percent in 2018. According to experts, this might be a great feather in the cap of ACA, although there is still some work left to do.
According to the study, one in every seven families was charged with an amount for their children’s well visits. Cost often seems to be one of the toughest barriers to parents keeping their updated with appropriate preventive care. The study analyzed all national health insurance claims data from 2006 to 2018 for children between 0 to 17 years of age.
Even before the Affordable Care Act came into effect in 2010, the researchers noticed improving trends in preventive pediatric care. The number of children who visited a doctor at least once per year without having a preventive checkup dropped consistently. In 2018, it was down to 29 percent from 39.3 percent back in 2006. Apart from that, researchers also found out that the so-called sick visits (for anything other than a regular checkup) that included one or more preventive services went up by around 60 percent. It includes immunizations and recommended screenings.
According to the experts, the above scenario indicates the fact that pediatricians might be increasingly taking advantage of any opportunity they can to provide preventive care. With deductibles and co-pays being on a steady and continuous rise, the promise of free preventive care has become one of the most catching benefits of the ACA. Though the road is long, it keeps getting better and better at delivering free preventive care to children.