In an effort to keep health care costs down and encourage better usage, the Affordable Care Act includes a provision that requires preventive care to be offered free of charge. While that may sound good in theory, some benefits experts do not buy into this "free" health care.

"Very simply, nothing is free," says Gary Bernabe, RHU, CHC, vice president of Strategic Employee Benefit Services. "Somebody's paying for it. There's no free lunch."

Before this provision was passed, preventive care was generally well covered, says Joanne Denise, employee benefits specialist of Strategic Employee Benefit Services. With a small copay, an insured participant could get the necessary preventive care services. However, the perception that preventive care was not well covered took over, and there was a prevailing thought that plan participants would become more engaged in their own health if these services were free, prompting the Obama administration to introduce this provision.

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