LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Insurance companies shouldn't punish prevention

Two medical news items in the Aug. 19 Newsletter garnered my attention. First, the record-breaking SOM class is good news for the university and a key part of the solution to help contain health care costs while increasing availability of care. It takes more doctors to accomplish these two objectives.

Second, the expanded state funding for the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program is literally a life-saver. While a hands-down best-use of public dollars, it also points out the less-than-stellar state of health insurance coverage. And I'm not just talking about those without. As a university employee I have always opted for the default high-deductible coverage (currently Anthem, formerly Great West). In both cases, preventive care coverage includes colonoscopies and is covered 100 percent with one huge exception: If a polyp is found, the procedure is not covered as part of the preventive care coverage. Instead, it becomes an outpatient surgical procedure subject to the deductible. This is wrong and absurd.

I have had two colonoscopies under each company and in both cases I had to fight to get it covered under the preventive care category. I am certain many other CU employees have faced the same battle; I encourage them to contact me so that I can document this shameful practice. My hope is that CU can obtain this benefit through future negotiations with the insurance company so that individuals don't have to go it alone.

Barry Northrop
Assistant Director of Policies and Procedures
Accounting and Business Support
University of Colorado at Boulder