One of the Obama Administration's biggest points of pride in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the fact that preventative health care services will no longer be of any charge to patients. These changes are bound to introduce challenges for practices when it comes to medical coding and billing, but the air may have to be cleared between patients and their doctors on exactly what is and isn't under the umbrella of preventative care.

Is it all in the fine print?
According to The Wall Street Journal, there are a multitude of medicinal services that qualify as preventative under the ACA, including vaccinations and screenings for many fatal conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and certain cancers. Yet for those who have ongoing ailments, some of these care services might be ruled as "evaluation and monitoring," according to the Journal.

"Patients are scheduling 'physicals' because physicals are free," Dr. Randy Wexler, a family-medicine physician in Columbus, Ohio, explained to the source. "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."

With the ACA's new changes, this could cause some confusion and perhaps even moments of discord between patients and their doctors. However, it appears that some physicians have found ways to make these appointments at bit more straightforward for medical billing services as well as the wellness of their customers. In fact, some practices are scheduling separate visits – one for preventative care and one for ongoing ailments – so that there is no disharmony in your physician billing software or your patient's bank account.

Issues arise with preventative diabetic care
Prior to the new health care law, millions of diabetic patients had problems finding adequate care due to ailment being labeled as a pre-existing condition, according to The Washington Post. However, since ACA deemed that no insurance company could turn down a patient for a pre-existing condition, these individuals could have more access to preventative care for managing diabetes than ever before.

"You're talking about an improved quality of life, but a lot less expenses related to chronic conditions that develop later … hypertension, end stage renal disease, lots of different conditions," said Kathy English, a nurse involved with WellPoint, a six-week program that offers diabetic care, to the Post.

Although it's true that the health of millions of Americans will change due to the ACA, physicians and practices need to be aware of these proposals for doctor-patient harmony as well as several medical billing issues.