Hey Medicare Nation!
March is colon cancer awareness month!
Medicare offers different types of "preventative" tests and exams, which aid in diagnosing illnesses and diseases, such as colon cancer.
Always speak with your primary care physician or specialist doctor, to discuss your medical history, family history regarding illness and diseases, as well as any signs & symptoms you may have.
This will assist your physician in determining which type of "preventative" test or exam, is best for you.
A special "Thank You," goes out to Phillip, from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who asks the question:
"I don't like going through a colonoscopy. Are other options available and how often do I need one?"
Let's look at Medicare's official website, to find out more about "preventative" Colo rectal cancer screenings.
How often is it covered?
Medicare Part B covers several types of colo rectal cancer screening tests to help find precancerous growths or find cancer early, when treatment is most effective. One or more of these tests may be covered:
- Screening barium enema:When this test is used instead of a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, Medicare covers it once every 48 months if you're 50 or over and once every 24 months if you're at high risk for colorectal cancer.
- Screening colonoscopy: Medicare covers this test once every 24 months if you're at high risk for colorectal cancer. If you aren't at high risk for colorectal cancer, Medicare covers this test once every 120 months (ten years), or… 48 months after a previous flexible sigmoidoscopy.
- Screening fecal occult blood test: Medicare covers this lab test once every 12 months if you're 50 or older.
- Multi-target stool DNA test: Medicare covers this at-home test once every 3 years for people who meet allof these conditions:
- The Medicare Beneficiary is between 50–85.
- show no signs or symptoms of colorectal disease including, but not limited to, lower gastrointestinal pain, blood in stool, positive guaiac fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test.
- They’re at average risk for developing colorectal cancer, meaning:
- They have no personal history of adenomatous polyps, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
- They have no family history of colorectal cancers or adenomatous polyps, familial adenomatous polyposis, or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.
- Screening flexible sigmoidoscopy: Medicare covers this test once every 48 months for most people 50 or older. If you aren't at high risk, Medicare covers this test 120 months (ten years) after a previous screening colonoscopy.
All people age 50 or older with Part B are covered.
People of any age are eligible for a colonoscopy.
Your costs in Original Medicare
- For barium enemas, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor's services. In a hospital outpatient setting, you also pay a co-payment or co-insurance
- You pay nothing for a multi-target stool DNA test.
- You pay nothing for the screening colonoscopy or screening flexible sigmoidoscopy, if your doctor accepts assignment (contracted with Medicare or is an out-of-network physician who accepts assignment).
- If a screening colonoscopy or screening flexible sigmoidoscopy results in the biopsy or removal of a lesion or growth during the same visit, the procedure is considered diagnostic and you may have to pay co-insurance and/or a co-payment, but the Part B deductible doesn't apply.
- You pay nothing for the screening fecal occult blood test. This screening test is covered if you get a referral from your doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist.
Early detection of cancer is critical to successful treatment and may prove to be life-saving!
Get your preventative colorectal screening done as soon as your physician recommends it!
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