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By the Numbers: 86 Million

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act helped approximately 86 million people access free preventive services like annual wellness exams, cancer screenings, and flu shots last year.

In 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided approximately 54 million Americans with at least one new free preventive service through their private health insurance plans, and an estimated 32.5 million people with Medicare received at least one free preventive benefit in 2011. Together, this means an estimated 86 million Americans were helped by provisions in the health reform law that encourage prevention.

One of the major goals of the Affordable Care Act is to help people stay healthy by giving them the tools they need to take charge of their own health and supporting a culture of prevention, rather than focusing on treatment after people get sick.  

To do this, the health reform law requires many insurance plans to provide no-copay coverage for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screenings for men, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults. The law also makes proven preventive services free for most people on Medicare.

Read more about the preventive services private insurers cover at no charge as a result of the Affordable Care Act here, and click here to learn about preventive services available through Medicare.