Experts offer the following tips for avoiding surprise medical bills for preventive care:
_Call your insurance plan _ the 800-number on the back of your insurance card _ to find out whether the plan must comply with the Affordable Care Act. If your plan is "grandfathered," it's exempt from the law's requirement to pay for preventive care.
_When scheduling an appointment or talking with your doctor, clarify that you're coming in for a covered preventive service and you don't expect to be charged. The doctor must be in your health plan's network.
_If you're hit with an unexpected bill, call the doctor's office and ask how the bill was submitted. Was it submitted as a preventive care service?
_Complain to your state's insurance department if you believe you've been billed in error.
The following is a partial list of services that should be covered without copays or other cost-sharing by the patient:
_Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
_Aspirin use for men and women of certain ages
_Blood pressure screening for all adults
_Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
_Colorectal cancer screening for adults, starting at age 50
_Depression screening for adults
_Type 2 diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure
_Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
_HIV screening for all adults at higher risk
_Flu shots and other recommended vaccines for adults and children
_Obesity screening and counseling for adults and children
_Tobacco use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users
_Breast cancer mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
_Cervical cancer screening for sexually active women
_Folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
_Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
_Autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months
_Depression screening for adolescents
_Fluoride supplements for children without fluoride in their water source
_Hearing screening for all newborns
Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Georgetown University Health Policy Institute