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, 5,580 residents will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and 2,030 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.