Colorectal cancer is preventable if it’s caught early. That’s why getting a routine colonoscopy is so important for everyone starting at age 50. Skipping recommended screenings could mean a patient receives a later-stage colorectal cancer diagnosis that can be more expensive to treat and harder to survive.
Currently, Medicare fully pays for routine colonoscopies for the purpose of screening. But if a polyp is found and removed during the procedure, the colonoscopy is categorized as a diagnostic exam, and the patient must pay a share of the cost.
This loophole, which applies only to Medicare beneficiaries, can leave a patient with a bill that could be as much as $500 out of pocket. In Illinois, more than 5,700 residents will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and 2,090 will die from the disease.
Congressman Gutierrez, Illinoisans need you to co-sponsor the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act to ensure seniors have the same access to colorectal cancer screening as others.