Only 20 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring insurance providers to cover the cost of colonoscopy, a colorectal cancer screening test that's been proven to save lives, according to a new survey by a coalition of 11 anti-cancer groups, including the American Cancer Society.
This year's annual Colorectal Cancer Legislation Report Card also noted that colorectal cancer screening rates have increased 40 percent faster in states that mandate coverage than in those without such mandates, BusinessWeek reported.
That could mean many lives needlessly lost in states without colonoscopy coverage laws. When detected and treated early, colorectal cancer is 90 percent curable. About 52,100 people in the United States are expected die of colorectal cancer this year, making it the second-leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer.
In comparison to colonoscopy, 47 states require insurers to pay for mammograms to screen for breast cancer, and 20 states mandate coverage for prostate cancer screening, which has not been proven to improve survival rates, BusinessWeek reported.