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March 2024 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Published on 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Did You Know?

According to the American Cancer Society, there has been a rise in colorectal diagnoses among people 50 and younger. “In the late 1990s, colorectal cancer was the fourth leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in this age group, and now, it is the first cause of cancer death in men younger than 50 and the second cause in women that age.”


In May 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed its colorectal cancer screening recommendation. They lowered the age at which adults at average risk of getting colorectal cancer begin screening from 50 to 45.


Why it Matters?

Effective January 1, 2023, CMS lowered the minimum age for colorectal screening (CRC) from age 50 to 45 for certain tests.


MLN Matters article MM13017, Removal of a National Coverage Determination and & Expansion of Coverage of Colorectal (CRC) Screening includes:

  • A list of the specific screening tests where the minimum age has decreased from 50 to 45 years and older, and
  • An expanded definition of CRC screening tests and new billing instructions for colonoscopies under certain scenarios.


Also, National Coverage Determination (NCD 210.3) Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests was revised to reflect the decrease in minimum age for each of the covered indications listed in this policy.


What Can You Do?

As a healthcare provider, be aware of the changes in Medicare’s colorectal screening coverage. Use the Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests information available in MLN Educational Tool Medicare Preventive Services to identify:

  • Applicable HCPCS, CPT and ICD-10 Codes,
  • The specific screening tests that Medicare Covers,
  • The frequency for performing these screening tests for patients not meeting high-risk criteria as well as patients at high-risk,
  • What the patient pays, and
  • Other notes (i.e., CMS pays for anesthesia services provided in conjunction with, and in support of, a screening colonoscopy reported with CPT code 00812.)


As a healthcare consumer, I encourage everyone to talk with your doctor about your risk(s) for colorectal cancer and the need for screening tests.



American Cancer Society article: 2024 – First Year the US Expects More than 2M New Cases of Cancer:


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force May 18, 2021 Final Recommendation Statement for colorectal cancer screening:


MLN MM13017:


MLN Educational tool Medicare Preventive Services:

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.