Colon cancer screening tests, which are covered by insurance, can bring patients a big bill if they indicate the need for a colonoscopy (which may not be covered).
When DNA colon cancer screening tests find abnormalities, are patients discouraged about getting more diagnostic testing because of costs they will incur? And why do hospitals sometimes send a second bill for treatments given in a doctor’s office? Here are the answers.
A stool-based DNA test to screen for colon cancer is available that is readily paid for by health plans, including Medicare. But if I have a positive Cologuard test result, I’d have to pay several hundred dollars for a regular diagnostic colonoscopy. Doesn’t this discourage people from getting screened for colon cancer, which is the goal, after all?
Patient advocates point to several reasons people may be discouraged from getting tested for colorectal cancer, including the “ick” factor and the time it takes to prepare for and get a colonoscopy, the most common screening test. “But the No. 1 factor is always cost,” said Caroline Powers, director of federal relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Commercial insurers and the Medicare program cover cancer screenings that are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force without requiring any payment by patients. The task force, an independent panel of medical experts,recommends colorectal cancer screening for people from age 50 to 75.
Several different types of tests get the thumbs up from the task force, including colonoscopy, in which a flexible tube with a camera is snaked through the colon from the rectum to look for polyps and other abnormalities, and stool-based tests, including the DNA test you mention, which looks for genetic mutations associated with cancer or polyps.
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