Preventive healthcare entails common healthcare services, which include regular checkups, screenings, and patient counseling in order to prevent various illnesses, diseases, and other health problems. The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover a range of recommended preventive services at no cost to patients. This requirement has different implications to various stakeholders. This prompt will compare and contrast the positions of groups of patients and physicians on the value of allowing the coverage of preventive services with no costs.
From the patient’s point of view, preventive services are usually cost-effective. When patients are offered preventive services at no cost, they are able to save the money that they would have spent in case they failed to seek such services, and later on, they suffer from various illnesses or diseases. Children vaccines are some of the preventive services that result in cost saving. Children are vaccinated against various types of diseases, thus preventing them from acquiring the diseases in later stages of their development and hence saving their parents from the agony of large medical bills in the future.
Joshua Cohen, a health-policy research at Tufts Medical Center, states that preventive services not only save the patients’ money but also save many lives and make people’s health better when these services are administered in the right manner to the right people (Cohen, 2006). This is usually done by identifying the population which is prone to a certain type of a disease and then administering preventive healthcare to this population. In the long term, this results in a profound improvement of the population’s health as well as in the prevention of loss of many lives. The positive outcome of preventive services affects physicians’ productivity. When patients comply with the expert advice of physician groups, they usually feel appreciated, a thing that often results in the increased workplace productivity. Studies indicate that the feelings of control among the physicians make them increase the likelihood of behavioral commitment and adherence to preventive health measures (Hudson & Brown, 1983, p.615).
However, despite the mandate of the coverage of preventive services at no costs being cost-effective, patients end up incurring costs while seeking these services. Some of these costs include travel costs and follow-up costs. According to Teutsch (2006), many preventive services are partly effective. Teutsch provides mammography screening as one of the preventive services, which is only partly effective. He states that mammography screening only reduces breast cancer deaths by less than 20 percent (Teutsch, 2006). He further states that positive mammogram requires an individual to undertake further tests and seek some treatments, which in many cases are costly.
According to Pickert (2009), the mandate of the coverage of preventive services at no cost is likely to discourage many primary health care physicians from continuing with their careers while, at the same time, discouraging medical students from opting for a career in primary healthcare. This is all because of the low economic gain from the practice. Pickert states that many physicians appear to opt for specialties that are more lucrative where they can earn more as compared to primary healthcare (2009). The discouraging nature of preventive healthcare is also present among the patients. Studies indicate that people with unhealthy lifestyles avoid seeking preventive services for the fear of being diagnosed with a certain disease even despite the perception that preventive healthcare is cost-effective. Men are also said to have a tendency of failing to seek the assistance of primary healthcare physicians because they tend to overestimate their health. They usually avoid circumstances that try to establish their weak areas (Hudson & Brown, 1983).