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What’s Preventing Prevention? – A Recap from the Alliance for Health Reform/AARP Hill briefing

aarp-hill-briefing-colonoscopy

by Margaret Carvin, Fight Colorectal Cancer Policy Strategist

Colorectal Cancer prevention and screening was discussed extensively at a senate lunch briefing last week by several panelists.

CDC’s CRCCP Program Explained

Judy Monroe, from Centers for Disease Control, discussed the Colorectal Cancer Control Program.

She explained that this program covers 25 states and 4 Indian tribes. Two-thirds of the money of this program goes to “evidence-based screening” which includes outreach through media, provider reminders, etc.

The other third of the money is designated for outreach to underserved populations.

She discussed the great successes that have occurred from appropriate screenings and the goal to reach 80 percent of those eligible for screening colonoscopies by 2018.

AARP Endorses H.R. 1070!

Lynda Flowers from the AARP Public Policy Institute discussed her publication on Colonoscopy Screening after the Affordable Care Act: Cost Barriers Persist for Medicare Beneficiaries. This publication covers the “costs” of colorectal cancer in the U.S and the impact of the ACA.

There is a great chart in this publication on “Medicare Coverage of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests” as well. The distinction between ACA covering co-pays for screening colonoscopies with polyp removal and the lack of co-pay coverage under Medicare was also discussed.

Ms. Flowers stated that AARP strongly endorses H.R. 1070.

Download the AARP publication on Colonoscopy Screening after the ACA: Cost Barriers Persist for Medicare Beneficiaries

Colonoscopy Co-Pays and Private Insurance

Kevin Lucia, a senior fellow at Georgetown University, discussed copays for colorectal cancer screening as it relates to private insurance. From his research of private insurers, there are many variations on whether insured consumers receive colorectal cancer screening with some cost or no-cost sharing. As a result, state regulators are looking for federal government guidance.

He told attendees that the number one issue for state insurance regulators is the issue of cost sharing for colonoscopies and colorectal cancer screening.

He concludes that the federal government could issue further guidance to improve clarity and make coverage more consistent on cost-sharing in the private insurance market. Also, guidance to providers and health plans on coding should be issued.

Finally, the federal government should coordinate with state insurance regulators. This is even more important with the implementation of ACA in the states.

More…

We were happy to attend this briefing, as we found it very useful and informative. We’re happy to see the AARP endorsing one of our top legislative priorities and hope to see the barriers to colorectal cancer prevention removed.

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