Preventative Care Part of New Healthcare Reform

Published 09/30 2013 08:55AM

Updated 09/30 2013 09:19AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the health care law requires many insurance plans to cover things like pap smears, mammograms and flu shots at no cost. Over the last two years, 71 million people with private insurance gained the free coverage, including 578,000 in Arkansas.

"The young and old will benefit from having that preventative care which we don't have very much of now," says Bettie Miller, a University of Arkansas Professor studying public policy.

Martin Kelly is working to keep people out of the doctor's office before they get sick. Kelly works in Mercy's operating room, but he also coordinates the Northwest Arkansas Health Expo.

"Insurance rates are going up, patients are asked to pay more for their care than ever," Kelly says. "I know President Obama has taken a lot of flak for trying to make some changes, and probably none of it sounds good to people. They're afraid of what it ultimately means for them, but we've got to do something."

He says focusing on health before you are sick can ultimately save money.

"I've always been very interested in preventative medicine and preventative health, ways to increase longevity to feel better while you're living on this earth instead of being always plagued by disease," he says. 

Participants go through eight stations, checking blood pressure, and body mass index, as well as other general tests.

"We run that data through our computer program and it gives us an idea of what their chronological age is versus their physiologic age," Kelly says. "It kinda gives them a basic idea of what their overall health is."

Physicians are on hand to give tips for living a healthier lifestyle, and spending less on healthcare.

"Is there something you can do?" Kelly says. "Stop smoking, lose what weight you can, so you're not always having to go see the doctor for chronic problems. and hopefully that lowers your, ultimately your cost out of your pocket."

You can find more information about the Affordable Care Act, and how it affects Arkansans here.

(story contributed by KARK, Little Rock)

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