Aetna begins offering virtual colonoscopy

Aetna is now offering CT colonography without patient copay, part of the provision for low-cost preventative screening in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Aetna was the last of the top five insurers in the U.S. to comply with the mandate, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR).

“Aetna’s action is in accordance with the 2016 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines for colorectal cancer screening, which assigned an 'A' rating to colorectal cancer screening for individuals ages 50 to 75, including CTC as one of the screening options,” the ACR wrote in a press release. “Aetna joins UnitedHealthcare, Anthem/Wellpoint, Cigna and Healthcare Services Corporation (HCSC).”

CT colonoscopy is still uncovered by Medicare despite the protestations of imaging societies. While 33 states and Washington, D.C., require coverage of the exam, CMS decided not to revisit the matter in December.

“CT Colonography is safe, effective and  comparably accurate to colonoscopy in most people—including those   65 and older. Former President Barack Obama  had this test. Medicare should follow the USPSTF’s lead and cover this exam,” said Judy Yee, MD, chair of the ACR Colon Cancer Committee, in a statement.