The utilization of preventive care services has been less than optimal. As part of an effort to address this, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that private health insurance plans cover evidence-based preventive services.
To evaluate whether the provisions of ACA have increased being up-to-date on recommended preventive care services among privately insured individuals aged 18–64.
Multivariate linear regression models were used to examine trends in prevalence of being up-to-date on selected preventive services, diagnosis of health conditions, and health expenditures between pre-ACA (2007–2010) and post-ACA (2011–2014). Adjusted difference-in-difference analyses were used to estimate changes in those outcomes in the privately insured that differed from changes in the uninsured (control group).
After the passage of ACA, up-to-date rates of routine checkup (2.7%; 95% confidence interval, 0.8%–4.7%; P=0.007) and flu vaccination (5.9%; 95% confidence interval, 4.2%–7.6%; P<0.001) increased among those with private insurance, as compared with the control group. Changes in blood pressure check, cholesterol check and cancer screening (pap smear test, mammography, and colorectal cancer screening) were not associated with the ACA. Prevalence in diagnosis of health conditions remained constant. Slower uptrends in adjusted total health care expenditures and downtrends in adjusted out-of-pocket costs were observed during the study period.
The provisions of the ACA have resulted in trivial increases in being up-to-date on selected preventive care services. Additional efforts may be required to take full advantage of the elimination of cost-sharing under the ACA.