johnson 051221SPRINGFIELD – Insurance companies in Illinois would be required to cover screenings to detect ulcerative colitis, polyps, diverticulosis, Crohn's disease, cancer and other gastrointestinal conditions under legislation from State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove).

“If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, you should be able to get one, regardless of your income level,” Johnson said. “This simple procedure could detect, or even prevent cancer—it could save your life.”

The legislation would require health insurance companies to cover the cost of a colonoscopy that has been deemed medically necessary after an initial screening. Patients could not be charged a deductible, coinsurance, copayment or other cost-sharing requirement for the procedure.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death for both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. However, if it is caught early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.

Not only can a colonoscopy screen for colorectal cancer—it is one of the only screening tests that can actually prevent colon cancer by finding and removing colon polyps before they become cancerous.

“Patients should be able to take control over their health and take advantage of preventive care services like colonoscopies,” Johnson said. “This legislation makes sure that insurance companies cover this life-saving, preventive screening.”

House Bill 2653 passed the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate.