Missouri Woman Billed $1,900 for Colonoscopy After Previously Taking an At-Home Cancer Test

Because the woman had already received a positive result from a Cologuard test, her insurance company initially said it would not cover the cost of the colonoscopy

One Missouri woman ended up getting a big bill due to an at-home colon cancer test.

Lianne Bryant, 55, decided to try using Cologuard after seeing commercials advertising the test, which supposedly is able to screen for colorectal cancer in average risk adults ages 45 and up.

"I thought, 'Hey, this screening at home that I can do sounds pretty easy compared to a full-blown colonoscopy,'" she told CBS News, noting that she called her insurance company ahead of time to make sure that the cost of the test would be covered.

After the at-home test came back positive, Bryant got a colonoscopy at the hospital, which found no signs of cancer. Although she was relieved by the results, Bryant told the outlet that afterwards, she was told she owed the hospital $1,900.

"I'm thinking, well, I certainly don't owe that much. I mean, that's not possible,' she said.

lianne bryant
Lianne Bryant.

Although colonoscopies are often fully covered for people 45 and up, under the Affordable Care Act, this only applies to routine screening tests.

Bryant explained that since she had already received a positive result from the at-home test, her colonoscopy was considered a "diagnostic" test. Fortunately, after a five-month long appeal process, Bryant was able to get the insurance company to pay the bill.

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In response to Bryant's story, Cologuard has updated its website to reflect that not all patients will be able to obtain a follow-up colonoscopy at no additional cost.

"If one person gets a bill associated with screening, it's one person too many," Kevin Conroy, the Company Chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences, which manufactures Cologuard, told CBS News in a statement.

Although Conroy defended the fact that the company's advertisements have not included this information, Bryant feels like the lack of disclosure is "kind of taking advantage of people."

"If it happened to me, I know that it's going to happen to a lot of people," she added.

The American Cancer Society now recommends that adults 45 and up get regular colon cancer screenings. They also urge people with symptoms of colon cancer — such as a change in bowel movements, including increased diarrhea, rectal bleeding, dark stools, and unexpected weight loss — to get checked out by a doctor.

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