Deeper look at January 1 healthcare reform changes

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer in America. It's also one of the most preventable, and curable.

The January 1 healthcare reform changes mean more people will have access to the procedures that prevent it and other deadly diseases.

When Arthur Houston had a colonoscopy two months ago, his doctor found a polyp-"It was the size of, I would say, an egg."

Houston says the procedure helped save his life.

"Mine didn't give me any signs. No warning. So it was laying there dormant, ready to do what it was going to do."

His doctor, James Hobley, with Gastrointestinal Specialists, says eliminating co-pays for these kinds of procedures is a win for patients.

"If a person has to decide between a co-payment for their colonoscopy, or let's say their electric bill, they're probably going to choose the electric bill."

He says it's also a win for insurance companies.

"The savings is going to be that person hopefully will have found a polyp early, preventing cancer. Preventing that larger cost of an operation, chemotherapy, time lost at work."

"The reality of the situation is that doesn't cover all the costs. That's why healthcare reform is also being funded, in part, by taxes and fees on a number of stakeholders in the healthcare industry," says Robin Mayhall of Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana.

Stakeholders like pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Mayhall says the new provision took affect for private insurance companies in September.

"Any new health plan that someone would buy or purchase after September 23 of this year has to provide certain preventive services with no deductibles, no co-payment, and no co-insurance."

Dr. Hobley says he anticipates his office will get a little busier.

"I think this is going to greatly increase the amount of people who will find themselves moving on with the appropriate screening tests because they no longer have that constraint on them."

These changes will affect everyone differently, so to find out how it will affect you, call your insurance provider.

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