It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost over and the new year will be here soon. And while your thoughts might be focused on upcoming year-end celebrations or vacation time, one end-of-the-year event you may not have considered, but should, is having a colonoscopy.
Why now? Because there’s a good chance that it could be a low- or no-cost screening if you have traditional healthcare coverage. Since the deductible on most health insurance resets on January 1 each year, you may have a short window of opportunity in the next two months to schedule a colonoscopy with potentially limited out-of-pocket
How do I find out if this applies to me?
You will need to find out what your deductible is per calendar year on your health plan and whether you have met it or are close to meeting it. If you have had medical appointments or treatments earlier in the year, chances are you have been making payments towards your deductible, you may have already met it.
What’s a deductible?
A deductible is the dollar amount that you’re required to pay out of pocket for your health care services before your health insurance or plan kicks in and starts to pay. It’s important to know that your deductible does not apply to all medical services.
Because not every service counts toward your deductible, it’s a smart practice to always contact your insurance provider before scheduling any screening or procedure to find out whether an out-of-pocket cost will be counted.
I know I’ve already met my deductible. What should I do next?
Then now may be an excellent time to schedule a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer, if you need one.
How do I know if I need a colonoscopy?
If you are 50 or older (45 or older if you are African-American) or if you have a family history of polyps or colon cancer, you should have a colonoscopy.
Are colonoscopies expensive?
Colonoscopies range in cost, depending on where you live and where you go for the procedure, but can be as high as several thousand dollars. Before you have your procedure, contact your insurance policy so you understand exactly what you may be expected to pay toward your colonoscopy. If you have been paying toward your deductible throughout 2017, the amount you owe could be very small or you might owe nothing.
Can I go to my own doctor for my colonoscopy and have it count towards my deductible?
Maybe, but you need to check with your insurance provider first. You’ll need to make sure you choose a doctor and facility that is in your provider’s network. If you don’t, you later may have the unpleasant surprise of finding out your procedure was not be covered or your out-of-pocket could be higher than you expected.
Keep in mind that even if your doctor is “in network,” he or she might work at several locations. This is important information, because your doctor must perform your colonoscopy at a facility that is in network, too.
Okay. I’ve met my deductible and I’m ready to schedule my appointment. Can you recommend a clinic near me where I can have my end-of-the-year colonoscopy?
Yes. Visit Find a Screening Center to find a center near you.