The Digestive Health Physicians Association strongly supports the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1017, S. 479), bipartisan legislation to remove financial barriers to life-saving colorectal cancer screenings and treatment for Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation, introduced by Congressmen Dent (R-PA-15), Payne (D-NJ-10) and Lance (R-NJ-7) as well as Senators Brown (D-OH), Wicker (R-MS), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME) enjoys broad, bipartisan support in both chambers.
Currently, seniors are not charged coinsurance for a routine colonoscopy screening. However, if a polyp is discovered during the screening and removed, which is the appropriate standard of care, seniors face paying high coinsurance fees. This occurs because the removal of the polyps or tissue triggers a change in the classification of the service provided from a “screening” service to a “therapeutic” or “diagnostic” service under Medicare’s billing codes. Thus, patients are often surprised by these out-of-pocket costs for what ends up being a potentially life-saving, medically necessary procedure.
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