Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

If Medicare Offered a Free Colonoscopy, Would You Take It?

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Wed, May 04, 2011

If you or a loved one are enrolled in Medicare, you might want to take advantage of some free preventive care screenings recently available. Starting this year, seniors enrolled in Medicare no longer have to pay for more than a dozen tests and other preventive health care services. These benefits, which also include an annual wellness exam, are part of the new federal health-care law.

But crowds are not lining up for the free mammograms or colonoscopies because most Medicare recipients don’t know about these free services. Medicare’s information about these benefits isn’t easily accessible, and can be confusing.

In addition, some of those who have taken advantage of the “free services,” have been unpleasantly surprised to receive hefty bills. According to a separate Kaiser Health News article, although screening colonoscopies are free, you can get an unexpected bill afterward. This is because the colonoscopy is free only as long as it is preventative.

“If a patient with no symptoms goes in for a screening colonoscopy and the gastroenterologist finds no pre-cancerous or cancerous polyps, everyone agrees that Medicare and commercial insurers are required to cover the expensive test 100 percent. But when the doctor removes a polyp, some insurers apply charges– meaning the insurer pays less of the bil

To find out more about the free services, you can consult the Medicare website and their (48-page) handbook.  You might also want to attend one of our free Trust, Estate & Asset Protection workshops to learn about your options.

Not all insurers are imposing the charges. Aetna, Cigna, Group Health Cooperative, Humana, United Healthcare and Wellpoint/Anthem - all said members pay no cost-sharing when a polyp is found. However, before scheduling any “free tests,” you might want to check with your insurance provider about how they treat the procedure should anything be found.



Tags: Medicare, colonoscopy, free tests, mammogram

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