Obama administration launches preventive health campaign

The Obama administration launched a preventive health campaign to help consumers who are newly insured better understand and use free preventive services available in their health plans, reported The Hill.

The "Healthy Self" public awareness campaign aims to teach consumers that signing up for a health plan is just the beginning of being healthy.

"Coverage is an important step, and it gets a lot of attention, but it's only one piece of the puzzle," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said when announcing the initiative, The Hill reported.

"How we get people to use their coverage has the potential to create healthier communities, discover illnesses earlier on when they're easier to treat, and drive down health costs across the system."

If successful, the campaign could help insurers lower costs by keeping members healthy and, therefore, avoiding expensive treatments.

That's because, as Burwell said in a blog post, chronic conditions account for 75 percent of all health spending. But they're also preventable or more effectively treated if caught early.

"That's why we are working to promote a better, smarter and healthier healthcare system with engaged, educated and empowered people at the center of it," Burwell said. "In addition to picking the right coverage and taking advantage of preventive care and screenings, remaining healthy requires a daily commitment to take control of our own health with healthy eating and exercise."

The "Healthy Self" campaign will encourage individuals to live healthier lifestyles by, for example, sharing selfies of themselves engaging in healthful activities or making healthy choices. HHS has created a hashtag, #HealthySelfie, for the social media portion of the campaign.

To learn more:
- read The Hill article
- see the HHS blog post