A popular home test for colon cancer has come up with an unexpected bill for some – leading to fears that they may postpone life-saving treatment. Americans may use it to view advertisements for colorectal cancer, a home test that has been advertised as a way to screen colon cancer at home instead of the highly invasive procedure of colonoscopy. Experts say it is a good screening tool, but some users say it has faced more billing.
Missouri resident Leon Bryant told CBS News’ consumer intelligence reporter Anna Werner that he had conspired after watching Collocard ads on television for a year or two.
“Hey, I thought this screening at home was so much easier compared to a complete colonoscopy,” 55-year-old Bryant told CBS News.
He called his insurance company in August to inquire about Colcord.
“Yeah, it would have been completely covered,” they said, because I didn’t want to get caught up in the unexpected bill, ”he said.
He sent in his sample and waited for an email with his results. To Bryant’s surprise, the test came back positive.
“I could have a polyp, I could get colon cancer,” he recalled.
Bryant ended up needing a colonoscopy, but was relieved to get a negative result.
Then the bills started coming.
“I’m starting to get reports from my hospital that I have $ 1,900 in arrears,” Bryant said. “I think, well, I’m definitely not so indebted. I mean, that’s not possible.”
Most can be treated if colon cancer is caught early. Colonoscopies are offered to most people at no cost.
Under, Only routine screening tests are included, and his colonoscopy was coded as a “diagnostic” test because Bryant’s collocardial result was positive, which was not fully obtained by his insurance.
She would have been completely covered if she had not used the cologne first.
“I’m crazy because I pay so much every month for this insurance,” Bryant said. “I feel like I’m really struggling.”
CBS News surveyed 11 of America’s largest health insurers on what they would do in situations like Bryant’s. Seven did not respond. Coverage results vary, and the four people who said how much a consumer will pay depend on how doctors mark the colonoscopy procedure.
“Unfortunately, in some cases, people with a positive, non-invasive test, such as cologne, will have to pay out of pocket to have their colonoscopy obtained,” said Dr. Mark Fendrick, of the University of Michigan who studies medical service pricing.
Fendrick worries that people may not cover up their colonoscopies, despite the risk of developing colon cancer.
“People who are considered at high risk, I do not understand that getting a colonoscopy is not easy financially or otherwise,” he said.
Cologne is made by proper science. Kevin Conroy, president and CEO of the company, admits there is a problem.
“If a person gets a bill related to screening, it’s more than one person,” he said.
Conroy said his company had decided to add new language to its website, “Although millions of patients can access this follow-up colonoscopy, there are no out-of-pocket costs … not all.”
“You helped us raise this, help us highlight what we can do better. So we are always looking for ways to improve,” he told CBS News.
However, while frequent TV commercials indicate that the cost of the cologne itself is covered by most insurance policies, they do not mention that follow-up colonoscopy is not covered.
Conroy defended the message in the ads and called them “appropriate.”
“If what you’re doing is scaring people away from being screened, there’s a significant cost associated with that,” he said.
Leon Bryant said he wished those ads had given him some warning.
“I do not want to say that this is a scam, but in a way, it takes advantage of a kind of people. If this happens to me, I know it will happen to a lot of people,” Bryant said.
Researcher Dr. Fendrick believes that if the entire colon cancer screening is to be protected by insurance, there should be no complications in advertising.
“I hope your story will create awareness not only among your audience, but also among those who pay, and they should see how irrational that policy is,” Fentrich said.
Follow-up Colonoscopy has a plan to help people appeal if they get an unexpected bill. Bryant won a $ 1,900 bill to pay his insurance company, but it took five months to resolve.