BHS In the Community
|BMC Launches New Fund to Help With High Deductibles/Co-Pays for Colonoscopy|
|June 7, 2010
For Immediate Release
BMC Announces Patient Fund for Screening Colonoscopy: Fund to Aid Patients Unable to Afford Copayments or Deductibles for Critical Screening
PITTSFIELD, MA – Berkshire Medical Center has developed a special patient fund that will assist underinsured patients in need of a screening colonoscopy who cannot afford their high copayments or deductibles. The Screening Colonoscopy Patient Fund has been created through generous community donations, including the benefits from this year’s DeMarsico Dinner Dance, and will assist the local underserved population by allowing them to better afford a screening colonoscopy, which is the medical gold standard for prevention and early detection of colon cancer.
“Berkshire County is a medically underserved area, and many people are underinsured, meaning that they are not able to meet their deductibles and/or copayments for this very important and life-saving screening,” said Diane Kelly, RN, BMC Chief Operating Officer. “The reality is that when faced with high deductibles or copays, people are more likely to pay for household and family expenses and will forego screening exams. Until this program was developed, there were no financial resources available locally to assist insured people with high deductibles or copayments in need of screening colonoscopy. We’re proud to provide this to our community as we all strive to reduce the incidence of colon cancer in the Berkshires.”
The new Screening Colonoscopy Patient Fund is available for people who are insured and meet the eligibility income criteria of 400% or lower of the federal poverty level. The fund is available based on income and copayments/deductibles greater than $100. This means a member of a family of four is eligible if the family income is $88,200 or lower and the copay or deductible is $100 or higher for the procedure.
If the applicant’s income falls within the 400% of poverty level eligibility and is approved for the program, up to 50% of the deductible and/or copayment balance for a screening colonoscopy performed at BMC will be credited to the patient’s account. Interested patients must complete an enrollment form and meet all established criteria. Enrollment forms can be obtained through the BMC Endoscopy Unit or printed from the BHS website at www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/colonoscopyfund.
In Berkshire County, less than 55% of people over the age of 50 have had their screening colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 and older at least every ten years and is the most important test to help prevent colon cancer or to detect it early. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the US. When found early, colon cancer is treatable.