For those on Medicare or with new private insurance plans, cost will no longer be an excuse not to get screened for colorectal cancer. Under the new health care law, colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies and fecal occult blood tests for those between the ages of 50 and 75 will be covered at no cost to you. A New York Times blog reports that Medicare will begin covering the tests in January and private insurance plans must begin covering them without cost-sharing beginning after Oct. 1. Existing health plans will be grandfathered in and will not be required to cover the screenings.
Colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies and fecal occult blood tests are considered Grade A preventive care procedures by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), meaning their health benefits have been found to be substantial. The USPSTF generally suggests getting a colonoscopy once every 10 years, a sigmoidoscopy every five years and a fecal occult blood test every year. The American Cancer Society’s recommendation to get screened more often if you’re at an increased risk for colon cancer is not factored into the new insurance law.posted on June 4, 2010 in news