Nineteen states receive an "F" in colorectal cancer screening

Articles
March 08, 2009

Nineteen states receive an "F" in colorectal cancer screening

After the first report was released six years ago, the 2009 Colorectal Cancer Screening Legislation Report Card has recently been released with twenty-one states, plus D.C. scoring an "A", and nineteen receiving an "F". The report is presented by a coalition of organizations and provides a snapshot of each state's effort to pass legislation requiring insurance coverage for colon cancer screening tests, according to the best clinical guidelines. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined in the United States. However, when detected early can be successfully treated more than 90% of the time. In February 2008, the American Cancer Society reported that the colorectal cancer death rate has continued to decline. However, the American Cancer Society still estimates almost 50,000 deaths in 2008 as a result of this type of cancer. The goal of this coalition is to reach out to legislators in those states that do not have laws in place that require medical insurance companies to cover this screening as a preventative measure. In other words, if you live in the state of Arizona, your insurance company does not have to cover the screening unless it is diagnostic. But if you live in Connecticut or any of the other 20 states, plus D.C. that got "A's", the law requires insurance companies to cover the $3,000 test as a preventative measure.

After the first report was released six years ago, the 2009 Colorectal Cancer Screening Legislation Report Card has recently been released with twenty-one states, plus D.C. scoring an "A", and nineteen receiving an "F". The report is presented by a coalition of organizations and provides a snapshot of each state's effort to pass legislation requiring insurance coverage for colon cancer screening tests, according to the best clinical guidelines.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined in the United States. However, when detected early can be successfully treated more than 90% of the time. In February 2008, the American Cancer Society reported that the colorectal cancer death rate has continued to decline. However, the American Cancer Society still estimates almost 50,000 deaths in 2008 as a result of this type of cancer.

The goal of this coalition is to reach out to legislators in those states that do not have laws in place that require medical insurance companies to cover this screening as a preventative measure. In other words, if you live in the state of  Arizona, your insurance company does not have to cover the screening unless it is diagnostic. But if you live in Connecticut or any of the other 20 states, plus D.C. that got "A's", the law requires insurance companies to cover the $3,000 test as a preventative measure.

Early detection is the key to saving lives with this type of cancer. And in some cases, once the patient is at the diagnostic level of screening, the one the insurance company will pay for, it can be too late.

The report breaks down the grading criteria and lists what every state scored. In addition, the report lists ways you can reach out to legislators, employers and insurance companies if your state does not provide for this screening.

The complete report is available at this link: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/030509_cancer.pdf.