Highmark plan to drop coverage of anesthesia for colonoscopies delayed

Highmark Blue Shield decides to delay implementation of its controversial Monitored Anesthesia Care Policy.  Under the policy Highmark would no longer cover the cost of Propofol for gastrointestinal procedures performed on otherwise healthy individuals. Propofol is a sedation medication used in colonscopies and praised by patients and doctors for its effectiveness. The change was scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Highmark released a statement regarding its decision:

“After receiving feedback, including concerns, from some physicians, we have decided to delay implementation of the policy as we further study all implications of this change. Physicians have told us they would need more time to make adjustments within their practices to accommodate the change. To understand fully what this will mean for them, we will seek their input and meet with representatives of the Pennsylvania Medical Society”

Pennsylvania Medical Society chief executive officer Michael Fraser, PhD., praised Highmark’s decision:

“As Highmark-insured patients race to change scheduled colonoscopies to beat a June 30 deadline, the insurer today made a wise decision to delay and hopefully fully reconsider implementation of policy that should cause patient discomfort and physician concern.”