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.

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