Angry Patients Find Obamacare’s Annual Checkups May Not Be Free

Obamacare patients who go to their doctors for a free annual checkup are finding out that they may have to pay for the preventative healthcare visit after all.

They are angry to learn that if they mention past or ongoing health concerns during the physical, that can result in co-pays and deductibles, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Under the Affordable Care Act, preventative care includes screenings for high blood pressure and high cholesterol counts, evaluations for several cancers and diabetes, and vaccinations. The patient is allowed, in most cases, one checkup per year.

But “wellness” care on potential new health issues is viewed as “evaluation and monitoring,” and leads to patients having to fork out for the “free” annual physical.

“Patients are scheduling physicals because physicals are free,” Randy Wexler, a family physician in Columbus, Ohio, told the Journal. “But they come in and say, ‘I’ve been having headaches. My back has been bothering me and I’m depressed.’ That’s not part of a physical. That will trigger a copay.”

Wexler says they are not happy about the charges. “They’ll say, ‘I have diabetes and hypertension and heart disease and seeing you is preventing them from getting worse, so that should be fully covered,'” he said. “But under that theory, everything would be free with no copay.”