Policy

Ohio doctors group backs proposed colorectal cancer screening law

A trade group representing Ohio physicians supports proposed legislation that would require health insurance plans to cover colorectal cancer screenings for at-risk patients. The Ohio State Medical Association’s backing of the proposal puts it at odds with the Ohio Association of Health Plans, a trade group representing the state’s insurers, which opposes the legislation. Under […]

A trade group representing Ohio physicians supports proposed legislation that would require health insurance plans to cover colorectal cancer screenings for at-risk patients.

The Ohio State Medical Association’s backing of the proposal puts it at odds with the Ohio Association of Health Plans, a trade group representing the state’s insurers, which opposes the legislation.

Under the proposal, health policies would have to cover the expense of colorectal examinations and lab tests for any “symptomatic” individuals, as well as those over the age of 50 or judged to be at high-risk for the disease based on certain medical guidelines. The measure has been proposed in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.

The American Cancer Society is joining OSMA in supporting the screening requirements, according to a statement from the two organizations.

“The number of states with comprehensive colorectal cancer screening laws has grown from zero to 26 in the last 10 years,” said John Hoctor, the American Cancer Society’s government relations officer. “We ask our lawmakers to add Ohio to the list.”

Kelly McGivern, president of the Ohio insurers’ group, said last month her organization is against the proposal because it represents a government intrusion into the insurance market. Further, the Association of Health Plans objects to a clause in the bill that requires colorectal screenings to be performed under guidelines from the American Cancer Society. The group endorses the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s guidelines, McGivern said.

Colorectal refers to cancer that starts in either the colon, the first 4 to 5 feet of the large intestine, or rectum, the large intestine’s last few inches. The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 50,000 U.S. deaths last year from colorectal cancer.

Neither of the colorectal screenings bills proposed in the current legislative session have made it to a vote.