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I have my much-derided "free colonoscopy" scheduled for the end of the month. Under my old plan with the big premium, a colonoscopy was a $4,000 out-of-pocket procedure.

It's "free" if it's a "screening colonoscopy" and you haven't had one in the past ten years. If you have, say, a two millimeter inconsequential polyp removed it may or may not be free, depending on your insurance company.

As a quality measure, the powers that be are looking at polyp detection rates, which gives your colonoscopist a strong incentive to remove anything that looks even remotely polypoid. Many of those turn out to be nothing, but they still get billed. The experts are claiming that an average man at low risk has about a 30% chance of having a polyp, so the risk is substantial.

If you have a polyp removed, or, according to some "experts" have a relative who has had a polyp removed, the recommendation is to repeat the procedure in five years. The repeat procedure will not be "free." If you have three or more polyps, or one polyp greater than one centimeter, the recommendation is to repeat the procedure in three years.

I recently did a colonoscopy on a man who told me he did not want any polyps removed because his insurance company wasn't going to cover the procedure free of charge if he did.
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