Private Health Insurance: Coverage of Key Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests Is Common But Not Universal
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Four key tests are used to detect the cancer--fecal occult blood test (FOBT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema (DCBE), and colonoscopy. Private health insurance plans generally cover these tests to diagnose cancer; however, the extent to which plans cover the tests for screening purposes--where no symptoms are evident--is less clear. The paper identifies the state laws that require private health insurance coverage of these screening tests; and determines the extent to which the tests are covered among small employer, individual, large employer, and federal employee health plans.