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Colonoscopy Screening after the Affordable Care Act: Cost Barriers Persist for Medicare Beneficiaries

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to address low rates in the use of recommended preventive services—including colonoscopy—by partially eliminating Medicare beneficiary cost sharing. Beneficiaries continue to be exposed to costs if polyps are found and removed, if tissue is biopsied during the procedure, or if the colonoscopy is administered following a stool blood test indicating that cancerous cells might be present in the colon. These remaining costs could be a barrier to the use of this lifesaving test. This report discusses these barriers and presents policy options that may help overcome them. 

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