← Well Winter 2021

An At-Home Option for Colorectal Cancer Screening

We cover Cologuard® to help you stay healthy

Have you been putting off regular checkups and preventive screenings out of concern about COVID-19? It’s important to stay on top of them because they can help a doctor diagnose a condition earlier and treat it more effectively. And for colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., testing can be done right at home.

Cologuard® is an effective, noninvasive testing option that involves collecting a stool sample at home and mailing it to a lab. The test looks for changes in your DNA that could indicate the presence of colon cancer or precancerous polyps that might be present in your colon. Cologuard is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Cologuard is available by prescription only and covered with no cost share when ordered by your doctor.1 Find out what to ask your doctor about Cologuard and how it is ordered here.

Who should be screened?

People at average risk for colorectal cancer should start regular screening at age 45. Due to an increase in the disease among younger people, the starting age was lowered from 50 by the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce.

Weighing your screening options

Cologuard is one of several tests that can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. The others, such as colonoscopy, are performed in-person at a medical facility and are covered by your plan. These in-person tests are being done safely during the COVID-19 pandemic (see below). However, we offer coverage for Cologuard for those who prefer to have an at-home screening option.

Talk to your doctor about which type of screening is right for you, how to get tested, and how often. Learn more about your screening options here.

Getting in-person care safely during the pandemic

Providers have an obligation and responsibility to abide by strict rules and protocols to keep patients and staff safe during in-office procedures and visits. You can increase your own safety by also calling the provider’s office in advance of your appointment to ask about:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing practices throughout the office – exam and waiting rooms, elevators, high-touch surfaces, etc.
  • Patient screening questions and temperature checks for COVID-19
  • Face mask and social distancing requirements
  • Limits on the number of people who can be in the office
  • Rules for bringing another person to the appointment
  • Policies about calling from the parking lot or coming to the waiting room for your appointment

You can limit your risk of contracting the virus at the provider’s office by:

  • Wearing a face mask
  • Keeping social distance from others
  • Avoiding contact with high-touch surfaces as much as possible: doorknobs, elevator buttons, and shared office objects, such as a clipboard and pen, etc.
  • Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before and after your visit


  1. Cologuard is covered with no cost share for Tufts Health Plan Commercial members, including Tufts Health Direct, when billed by the provider as a preventive screening. If you have questions about your coverage, please call member services at the phone number on your member ID card.