Ouch. That ‘Free’ Annual Checkup Might Cost You. Here’s Why.


Many patients are being billed for preventive care services despite the ACA’s guarantee that these should be free. The gray areas of the law have allowed for creative billing practices that result in patients being blindsided by unexpected bills. Examples include charges for mentioning health concerns during a preventive visit, being billed for a “new patient visit” despite having no physical complaints, and being charged for a biopsy during a screening colonoscopy. There is no federal enforcement mechanism to catch individual billing abuses, and agencies’ remedies are weak. As a result, patients pay bills they do not owe and might be discouraged from seeking essential preventive screenings.

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