OHA: Colorectal Cancer

Managed Care Laws

Colorectal Cancer

During the 2002 Legislative season, Connecticut's Senators and Representatives passed a bill that provided coverage for colorectal cancer screening.

The law reads as follows:

According to the Connecticut General Statutes, each group healthcare coverage policy issued, amended, renewed or continued in Connecticut on or after October 1, 2001, will provide coverage for colorectal cancer screening, including, but not limited to, (1) an annual fecal occult blood test; (2) colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy or radiological imaging, in accordance with the recommendations established by the American College of Gastroenterology, after consultation with the American Cancer Society, based on age, family histories and frequencies provided in the recommendations.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a visual examination of the colon using a fiber optic endoscope. With the patient awake but sedated, this tool is inserted into the rectum and moved through the bowel. The bowel is examined for polyps, hemorrhagic sites, ulcerations, etc. Sometimes the professional performing the colonoscopy may do other minor procedures such as a tissue biopsy or a polypectomy. Patients should arrange for a ride home, as driving is not allowed after the procedure since sedation is involved.

Colonoscopies are performed to:

  • evaluate an abnormality found by a barium enema;
  • remove colon polyps;
  • discover the reason for blood in the stool;
  • screen for colon cancer, especially when there is a strong family history of the disease;
  • diagnose/manage inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other conditions at the discretion of your physician.