Aetna takes heat over its policy on propofol for colonoscopy


Aetna insists the average colonoscopy patient does not need the presence of an anesthesiologist to administer propofol.

Should insurers cover Aetna to task for refusing to pay for this anesthetic agent. But Aetna claims they are misinterpreting the company's position. According to Robert McDonough, M.D., head of Aetna's clinical policy unit, propofol is often administered with an anesthesiologist present during colonoscopy, thus driving up the cost of the procedure. Aetna believes that for the average person, moderate sedation without need of an anesthesiologist is all that is required. Propofol should only be used when medically necessary. Aetna said this policy will take effect as of April 1.

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