dr patient 082321SPRINGFIELD – Illinois patients can follow their doctors’ recommendations without worrying about burdensome costs under a new law championed by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to require insurance companies to cover medically necessary colonoscopies.

“Most people should get regular colonoscopies starting at age 45, but if you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend screenings earlier,” Johnson said. “Deductibles and co-pays shouldn’t keep anyone from undergoing this potentially life-saving procedure.”

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

In May, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force— the leading panel for medical guidance in the U.S.—published a statement lowering the recommended age to start screening for colorectal cancers from 50 to 45.

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 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.

“The new official age recommendation allows more patients to rely on their insurance to cover colonoscopies, but this law takes it one step further,” Johnson said. “Affordable preventative care services are essential for patients of all ages.”

The legislation, originally House Bill 2653, was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.