New Law in NY and NJ Removes Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening


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Legislation recently signed into law in New York and New Jersey will provide residents with increased access to colorectal cancer screening. These laws update the age for such lifesaving screenings from 50 to 45 in accordance with United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines released May 2022. The laws also remove out-of-pocket costs for patients who need to have a colonoscopy following a positive non-invasive screening test, making New York and New Jersey two of 13 states across the nation to do so.  

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women combined in the U.S. Only 64.9% of New Yorkers and 59.6% of New Jersians ages 50-64 are up-to-date on colorectal cancer screening. For patients who choose to undergo a colonoscopy for screening, most health plans will now cover the procedure once they turn 45. For those who choose to use a non-invasive test, should the non-invasive screening test come back positive and the patient needs a colonoscopy, this procedure will now also be covered at no additional cost. The legislation removes a major barrier for patients making the decision to get screened. 

In 2023, it’s estimated that over 8,970 people in New York and 4,220 people in New Jersey will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis.. 

Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) President Anjee Davis applauds the two states for these prevention measures: 

“We started the Catalyst State-By-State Advocacy Program to support real change in colorectal cancer policy at the state level. We are proud to have played a role in bringing New York and New Jersey over the finish line to increase access to colorectal cancer screening. We could not do it without the tireless work of advocates alongside us in these states.” 

Fight CRC partnered with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) on legislative action in New York and New Jersey. President Lisa Lacasse was also pleased to see legislation approved:

“We applaud New York and New Jersey lawmakers and dedicated advocates for pushing to eliminate barriers to cancer screening. Without this important change in legislation, inequities in colorectal cancer would continue as some patients would incur cost sharing for follow-on colonoscopies after a positive non-invasive test, a cost resulting in delayed or skipped procedures with potentially life-threatening consequences due to imposing financial hardship for those on fixed incomes.”

Theresa Maschke, New Jersey resident and caregiver to her husband, Joe, a stage III survivor, testified at the hearings considering the proposed legislation. “When Joe and I testified before the Senate committee this past May, we saw and felt their empathy for what our family went through with Joe’s colorectal cancer diagnosis and how this is a battle we continue to fight every day even though Joe has had no evidence of disease since July 2019,” Maschke said. “When we testified before the Assembly committee, each of them thanked us individually for sharing our story, and as they cast their votes, one assemblywoman said, ‘My husband is 52, and tonight, I am going home and tell him he needs to get his colonoscopy.’  Our ultimate goal of all of this was so no family ever has to go through what our family did. This law will save lives.”

Background on the Law in New Jersey 

A-3523/ S-2305 requires health insurers to cover colorectal cancer screenings recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and eliminate cost-sharing for required follow-up colonoscopies after a positive non-invasive screening test with the goal of improving screening rates across New Jersey. The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on February 2, 2023. 

Background on the Law in New York

A2085-A helps ensure colorectal cancer screening coverage for New Yorkers at average-risk starting at age 45, and ensure that state regulated insurance plans cover, with no cost-sharing, follow-up colonoscopies after a positive non-invasive stool test. It was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 23, 2022.

Continued Advocacy

While the original bill, passed by both houses in the spring, would have expanded coverage for every New Yorker on a state regulated, commercial health plan, the Governor’s office insisted on limiting it only to large group Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plans. The result is that approximately 170,000 participants of short-term duration, non-ACA compliant plans, are excluded from such coverage. Fight CRC and ACS CAN will continue to work to secure coverage for those New Yorkers.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines 

ACS updated its guidelines in May 2018 recommending that adults at average risk for colorectal cancer start regular screening at 45 to save more lives, in part due to new data showing rates of colorectal cancer increasing in younger populations.

Colorectal Cancer Data and Background

Approximately 90 percent of all individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an early stage are still alive five years later, meaning a colonoscopy can literally save a person’s life when a polyp is found and removed by stopping any cancer formation in its tracks.

  • In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 cases of rectal cancer in the US and a total of 52,550 people will die from these cancers. 
  • According to the CDC, There are more than 20 million Americans eligible for CRC screening who have not been screened.
  • Colorectal cancer is on the rise among young adults. According to a 2021 JAMA study colorectal cancer is projected to be the leading cause of cancer deaths for those ages 20-49. 
  •  When compared to all other races and ethnicities, the prevalence of colorectal cancer screenings is lower among Asians and Hispanics. The incidence of colorectal cancer is highest among Black men and women, and the difference in mortality rate is even larger. Furthermore, Black individuals are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at increasingly younger ages, and with more advanced disease.

Resources for Residents living in New York or New Jersey Over the Age of 45, Now Eligible Under New Law. For more information or to find the nearest screening options, go to or call 1-800-227-2345.

New York and New Jersey are grantees of Fight CRC's Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program. The program is a competitive grant program created to support colorectal cancer policy change at the state level. The goal is to accelerate progress toward turning aspirational colorectal cancer screening goals into reality by increasing access and reducing barriers to colorectal cancer screening.