The federal government is trying to emulate private health insurers and put more emphasis on keeping healthy people healthy.
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has released a National Prevention Council Action Plan that will guide federal government efforts to address matters such as obesity, tobacco use, and chronic disease.
The plan should complement existing federal, state and private-sector wellness programs, officials say.
A provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) called for 17 federal departments and agencies to set up a National Prevention Council. The council is supposed to change the national health care focus to prevention and wellness, away from the current focus on responding to the health problems people already have, officials say.
Some large health insurers have expressed support for PPACA preventive services provisions, including one that requires them to cover some basic preventive services without imposing out-of-pocket costs on the patient.
House Republicans have questioned federal agencies’ spending on some PPACA public communications provisions.
Private employers and insurers are becoming increasingly aggressive about efforts to get consumers to participate in private-sector wellness and condition management programs and suffer consequences if they fail to meet program standards.