News from the AGA

Screening colonoscopy coinsurance fix legislation introduced


 

Medicare beneficiaries who have a screening colonoscopy and have polyps found and removed, find themselves on the hook for the coinsurance since the screening is now classified as a therapeutic procedure. AGA has been working for years with Congress to change this since removal of polyps is integral to the screening. Screenings save lives and Congress must enact legislation to fix this “surprise bill” that beneficiaries face.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, Roger Wicker, R-MS, Ben Cardin, D-MD, and Susan Collins, R-ME, and Reps. Donald Payne Jr., D-NJ, Rodney Davis, R-IL, Donald McEachin, D-VA, and David McKinley, R-WV, have introduced the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would waive the Medicare coinsurance for a screening colonoscopy that becomes therapeutic. Fixing this barrier will ensure that seniors will have access to lifesaving screenings and we will continue to make progress in fighting colorectal cancer.

AGA continues to advocate that Congress support and pass the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act and we need your help. Please take a moment to ask your legislator to support this important legislation by going to www.gastro.org/take-action.

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. despite the evidence that screening can save lives. The Affordable Care Act made great strides in ensuring that all Americans have access and coverage of lifesaving colorectal cancer screenings without cost sharing and clarified that private insurers could not impose cost sharing on screening colonoscopies that become therapeutic since “removal of polyps is integral” to the screening. We believe that same policy should be applied to our nation’s seniors and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid should use their authority to make this change.

AGA is committed to ensuring that patients have access to quality lifesaving screenings. Unfortunately, this current Medicare policy has caused enormous confusion among patients and providers and we continue to provide information and education to practices on how this policy impacts their patients. Fixing this problem will alleviate this confusion and ensure that Medicare patients are incentivized to have preventive screenings.

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