April 18, 2013

Regarding the April 16 Health & Science article “Health law raises questions about colorectal screening”:

Patients need to be persistent, and lawmakers need to work to clarify the meaning of “preventive.” I have a family history of colon cancer, and at age 30 I had to have part of my colon removed. I had a follow-up screening in 2012, which I had expected would be fully covered by insurance. However, the doctor’s office coded my colonoscopy as therapeutic rather than preventive.

The office gave me two explanations for this coding: because I am younger than 50, my screening could not be preventive; and because I have a high risk of colon cancer, my screening could not be preventive. In other words, the screening would be preventive only if I weren’t at risk.

I insisted on what I knew about the law and my insurance plan. I kept calling and making my argument for six weeks; ultimately, my insurance fully paid for the procedure.

Jennifer Haydel, Germantown

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