STATEWIDE (WIS) -- One of the key components of the Affordable Health Care Act includes checkups and care to try to prevent illnesses and diseases. That preventative care is available to people who receive Medicare.
Doctors say some of the most common diseases in the United States can be prevented.
Keeping people from developing diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer can save health care systems billions of dollars.
"Almost three-quarters of spending in the Medicare program is on chronic illness," says Dr. Patrick Conway with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"So if we can prevent the development of chronic illness, given that the total health care bill is over $2 trillion, billions of billions of dollars to the health care system"
People on Medicare can take advantage of free services that provide preventative care, including an annual doctor visit, flu shots, and free screenings for diabetes, cancer, glaucoma and heart disease.
:They can prevent diseases like diabetes from either developing or getting worse, " says Dr. Conway.
"In addition, in terms of cancer screening, we know this screening can save lives."
Since the program became available in January, about 1 in 6 Medicare recipients have taken advantage of the preventative services.
"Over age 65 it's incredibly important to focus on prevention because we can prevent serious diseases and illnesses like cancer, " Said Dr. Conway.
The Department of Health and Human Services says the more people take advantage of the preventative benefits, the fewer tax dollars would be spent.
"We want more Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of this benefit, because we think it's critical for both their health and for the long term health system that we focus on prevention."
For more information, talk to your doctor. Or you can call 1-800-Medicare.