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Don't Avoid Colonoscopy Because of Insurance Concerns

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It’s recognized as a life-saving procedure, yet it turns people off to think of a probe being inserted through the anus and into the large intestine. Are you over 50 and tempted to skip that colonoscopy? The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas wants you to reconsider, and in particular the center wants you to know that if the procedure is not covered by your insurance, you can explore other ways to pay for it.

In a recent news release, MD Anderson outlined several ways to solve the insurance problem, whether you are inadequately covered for procedures like a colonoscopy, or face a large co-pay, or have no insurance at all. The center also noted how the 2010 Affordable Care Act may have changed or will change your costs for a colonoscopy.

For instance, if you have an individual or work insurance plan that started on or after September 23, 2010, your policy is required to cover a long list of preventive services, including colorectal cancer screening. But, MD Anderson said, you may need to see an in-network doctor to get these services with no out-of-pocket costs. And coverage for some services may depend on your age, risk factors and screening guidelines.

What about insurance benefits that started before September 23, 2010? Coverage for a colonoscopy may depend on whether the policy has been “grandfathered” or allowed to stay the same (no colonoscopy coverage) despite health care reform. Ask your insurance company, which is required to release information about policy changes.

As for those on Medicare, the good news is that as of January 1, 2011, Medicare co-pays for many prevention services — including colonoscopies — have been eliminated.

A lack of insurance or being underinsured presents different challenges. MD Anderson suggests visiting the federal government’s website, HealthCare.gov, to find out if you qualify for assistance. Benefits vary from state to state, and your local Medicaid office may have answers.

Also try contacting non-profit organizations to inquire about funding for cancer screenings.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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