Some experts worry that the new insurance provisions don't go far enough in encouraging people, particularly those at high risk for certain medical conditions, to seek these services. A study published in April by researchers at Boston University found that individuals who abuse alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications are less likely to receive flu vaccinations and mammograms, for example. Offering additional incentives, like lower premiums for people who get screened and change their health habits, might be one way to help get them on board.
"We need to think really broadly," Moyer says, and not assume that insurance coverage "is the only answer." She and other experts believe that the government and the medical community need to better educate consumers. Preventive services represent only a fraction of the country's annual healthcare costs, but the returns can be enormous in time and money saved when diseases are caught or treated at earlier stages.