HHS, others clear up colonoscopy coverage confusion

The Obama Administration has cleared up some confusion about how colonoscopy is to be covered under the Affordable Care Act.

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The law requires most private health plans to cover preventive healthcare at no additional cost to patients. But when it came to colonoscopy, insurers began charging patients when a polyp was removed during the procedure.

"Insurers were reclassifying it from a preventive test to a diagnostic procedure," Stephen Finan, policy director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, told the Huffington Post. "In some cases the cost-sharing was a significant amount of money."

But, according to guidance issued Feb. 20 by the U.S. Departments of Health & Human Services, Labor and Treasury, "polyp removal is an integral part of a colonoscopy" and a plan or insurer "may not impose cost-sharing with respect to a polyp removal during a colonoscopy performed as a screening procedure." Article