PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Gov. Dan McKee has signed off on legislation that provides full insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screenings.
The law requires all health insurers to cover the cost of colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests in accordance with American Cancer Society guidelines. It also covers follow-up colonoscopies if a patient’s screening results are abnormal.
It’s also three years in the making.
Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, the legislation’s namesake, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019 and has sponsored the bill since its inception.
“I can personally attest to how critically important it is that everyone is able to get recommended colorectal cancer screening,” she said. “This legislation will save lives by increasing access to these life-saving screenings.”
McKee signed the legislation at The Miriam Hospital, where Goodwin is receiving cancer treatment.
“Expanding access to colorectal cancer screenings will save lives,” McKee said. “I am proud to sign this bill into law, removing barriers many Rhode Islanders face in accessing crucial screenings.”
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) estimates that, in 2021 alone, nearly 500 Rhode Islanders will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 160 will die from it. But they hope the increased access to screening will decrease those numbers.
“Although colorectal cancer is one of the few preventable cancers, it remains a leading cause of cancer death in Rhode Island. But this doesn’t have to be the case,” said Cori Chandler, the Rhode Island director of government relations for ACS CAN. “This law removes a major financial barrier keeping some Rhode Islanders from receiving their recommended screenings, which comes with the cost of poorer health outcomes and lives lost.”