Pundit sees push for healthy lifestyles in Medicare's new wellness benefit

Feb 17, 2011

Healthy lifestyles help on a number of levels

Changes to Medicare rules that eliminate cost-sharing provisions like co-pays from doctor's visits for preventative care should encourage all seniors to get regular checkups, according to CBS MoneyWatch columnist Steve Vernon.

Vernon said the advantages to both patients and the system as a whole are tremendous, from both a financial and a medical standpoint.

"Unless you're Rip Van Winkle, you've probably heard that the cost of medical treatment has been skyrocketing for many years, with the potential to bankrupt Medicare. The win-win solution for Medicare is for all of us to get and stay healthy, so that we don't need to incur medical expenses," he said.

A myriad of conditions which cause many thousands of deaths each year in America can be prevented or at least mitigated by early detection and lifestyle factors including, diet, exercise and tobacco use, experts say.

This could mean, as well, that regular check-ups may drive life insurance costs down, since life expectancies for those who get regular preventative care are higher than for those who do not.

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