Ashley Conway-Anderson was prepared for a lot of things when it came to her first colonoscopy. She sought out tips to make the daylong prep more bearable. She braced herself mentally for what the doctors would find; her mother, after all, was just a couple years out of recovery from colorectal cancer. When she awoke from the procedure, she said, things seemed relatively fine.
“Surprisingly fine,” said Conway-Anderson, a 36-year-old agroforestry professor at the University of Missouri. There was an 11-millimeter precancerous polyp that the doctors had discovered, but they’d snipped it out of her colon and recommended surveillance every three years. “Obviously, it’s big news to hear, but grateful this seems to be manageable. I’ll do it,” she said. “Then the bill came.”
She was being charged nearly $12,000 for the procedure after insurance. Conway-Anderson’s head spun. She couldn’t understand how it could cost so much, especially when she thought the colonoscopy was preventative for cancer and thus covered. “I was floored,” she said. “I was like I can’t pay this. I don’t know what you want me to do.”