WASHINGTON — Screening tests for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer will be covered by Medicare beginning on July 1, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.
The new coverage comes under a law passed by Congress last December. The legislation calls for The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to phase in coverage for certain tests and therapies that detect diseases early, when there is the best chance for treatment.
“Medicare must play a leading role in preventing, containing or slowing illness,” said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. “By increasing preventive services we can save lives.”
Under the law, most preventive services require a 20 percent co-pay of a Medicare-approved amount. The new law applies to those who are not considered at high risk for cancer – those who are considered high-risk cases are already covered. Under the new measure, women can request coverage every two years for Pap Smear tests, which help millions detect precancerous cervical cells in time to prevent cancer.
Medicare recipients are also now entitled to a screening colonoscopy every 10 years.
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