Is a Colonoscopy Covered by Health Hnsurance?
Medical costs can quickly add up, especially when a person has a serious condition. In order to reduce the costs of long-term medical care, insurance companies offer certain kinds of preventative care free of cost. This helps to prevent serious health conditions from manifesting and reduces the overall expense of claims for preventable diseases. It also encourages individuals to pursue healthy lifestyles.
The definition of preventative care varies from one insurance provider to the next, and it’s important to know exactly what’s covered under your policy. This prevents you from unexpected medical expenses caused by denied claims. If you do not yet have insurance, you may wish to purchase a policy that will cover the preventative care that is most important to you. If you do have insurance, you can check with the insurer to see what’s covered and budget accordingly for annual healthcare expenses.
What is a Colonoscopy?
Numerous health conditions attack a person’s digestive system. Serious illnesses and disorders include colon cancer and Crohn’s disease, and numerous other conditions can include digestive components. A colonoscopy helps to diagnose these conditions and pinpoint the cause of pain so that treatment can be administered.
Essentially, a colonoscopy is a procedure where a small camera is inserted into a patient’s rectum. This camera can then be used to get a clear view of a patient’s colon and large intestine. This is helpful in finding colon polyps, cancerous growths, ulcers, scar tissue and other irregularities.
Who Needs a Colonoscopy?
Medical professionals recommend people get regular colonoscopies beginning at age 50, when the risks of colon cancer begin to increase. At this age, an annual colonoscopy should be included with a regular physical examination alongside other preventative care and screening measures such as mammograms, prostate exams and bloodwork screen for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and health-threatening other issues.
Many people under the age of 50 may require a colonoscopy as a diagnostic measure. This may occur if a person is exhibiting symptoms of a colo-rectal disease or has digestive problems that cannot be explored through other means. In this situation, the colonoscopy is not considered to be preventative and would not be fully covered the way an annual procedure would be.
Additionally, if a person over 50 requires multiple colonoscopies in a single year, the subsequent tests would not be fully covered by insurance. This is because they would be considered diagnostic tests, not preventative care measures.
Are Colonoscopies Covered by Health Insurance?
Each insurance company has the ability to determine what procedures it considers to be preventative and which are diagnostic. The guidelines for these change from time to time as well. For example, it was once standard for all women over 40 to receive mammograms; the age limit has now increased by a decade. Because coverage is not standardized between insurers, it’s important to determine exactly what your insurance company will cover.
Even if a colonoscopy is not covered for free as a preventative measure, it should still qualify for some insurance assistance if you have met your deductible and use a doctor in the insurance company’s network. In other words, just because the procedure is not included in the coverage for your annual exam does not mean that the insurance will not pay for it at all.
Finding Health Insurance that Will Cover Preventative Care
If you already have insurance, be sure to speak with your provider to see exactly what is covered under your policy. Most insurers will have a toll-free number that can be called for insurance questions. Depending on your situation, it may be worthwhile to change providers to a company that provides complete coverage for preventative care, especially if you are in an age bracket that requires regular screenings against medical conditions.
If you’re looking for health insurance, you can begin your search online. Although private policies are usually more expensive than employer-provided group health plans, they provide more flexibility in doctors and often offer superior coverage. Depending on your situation, it may be worthwhile to obtain a more expensive policy that covers all of your medical needs rather than paying out of pocket for the care you require.
When purchasing private insurance, be sure to ask any questions that you may have about coverage prior to purchasing the policy. It may be difficult to drop insurance after the term has started, and you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised to discover that the insurance will not cover necessary expenses after you’ve already purchased it.