STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin requiring full insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screenings.

The legislation (2020-S 2317A) would require health insurers to cover preventive colorectal cancer screening for all colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests in accordance with American Cancer Society Guidelines. This coverage must be provided without cost-sharing and includes an initial screening and a follow-up colonoscopy if the results of the screening are abnormal.

American Cancer Society Guidelines recommend that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer in the United States. In 2020, 430 Rhode Islanders will receive a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Screening may lower the number of deaths due to colorectal cancer by as much as half.

“I can personally attest to how critically important it is that everyone is able to get recommended colorectal cancer screening. Cancer screening is routine preventive care that catches cancer early and saves lives as well as reducing health care costs down the road. Copays, cost-sharing and insurers that don’t cover pre-screening only discourage people from getting the care they need to protect themselves. This legislation will save lives by increasing access to these life-saving screenings,” said Senator Goodwin, who is currently undergoing treatment for colon cancer herself.

The bill now goes to the House, where Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) is sponsoring companion legislation (2020-H 7396).

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