Closing Gaps in Colon Care

Preventive screenings are the most effective way to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that everyone 45 to 75 years old get a screening.

Studies show colorectal cancer is becoming more common in people younger than 50. We encourage you to discuss screenings and colon health with our members. We’ve created resources that may help.

Recommended Screening

USPSTF recommends screening with any of the following tests for adults age 45 to 75:

  • Annual guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
  • Annual fecal immunochemical testing (FIT)
  • DNA-FIT every one to three years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 10 years with annual FIT
  • Computed tomography (CT) colonography every five years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

See our preventive care guidelines for more information about screening. Providers may want to discuss earlier testing with members with a family history of colorectal disease or other risk factors.

Closing Care Gaps

Colorectal Cancer Screening is a quality measure developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) that tracks appropriate screenings. To help close gaps in care, consider these tips:

  • In our members’ records, document the date a colorectal cancer screening is performed or include the pathology report indicating the type and date of screening.
  • Encourage members to stay up-to-date on their screenings as well as all screening options available.
  • Reach out to members who cancel screenings and help them reschedule.

Addressing Health Disparities

Black Americans are 20% more likely to get colon cancer than other racial and ethnic groups, and 40% more likely to die from it, according to the American Cancer Society. They also are more likely to develop colon cancer at younger ages. Talk with our members about the importance of regular screening and the unique risks Black people may face. See our Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health page for more information.

Checking Eligibility and Benefits

Check member eligibility and benefits using Availity® Essentials or your preferred vendor before every scheduled appointment. Eligibility and benefit quotes include members’ coverage status and other important information, such as applicable copays, coinsurance and deductibles.

For most of our members, preventive colorectal cancer screening is covered at no cost share. For diagnostic tests for colorectal cancer, our members may have out-of-pocket costs. This includes diagnostic tests for members who have signs of health problems or a family history of disease. Learn more.

Some screenings involve a member’s pharmacy benefits in addition to their medical benefits, such as the prep kit for colonoscopies. For details about pharmacy benefit coverage, call the number on the member’s ID card. A member’s pharmacy benefit may be managed by a company other than Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM).


The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.

Availity is a trademark of Availity, LLC, a separate company that operates a health information network to provide electronic information exchange services to medical professionals. Availity provides administrative services to BCBSNM. BCBSNM makes no endorsement, representations or warranties regarding third party vendors and the products and services they offer.