Insurer Aetna to stop most coverage of hysterectomy approach

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015
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HARTFORD, CT -- The health insurer Aetna will end most coverage of a once-popular device used in laparoscopic hysterectomies that has drawn warnings from federal regulators over a risk for spreading cancer.

The nation's third-largest health insurer says as of May 15, it will no longer cover the use of power morcellation in hysterectomies or for removing uterine fibroids. Aetna Inc. says it will make exceptions for some patients who want to maintain their fertility or for those whom the use of another procedure would be a life-threatening risk.

Laparoscopic power morcellators are used to remove uterine fibroids or the entire uterus in less-invasive surgeries than standard abdominal procedures. The Food and Drug Administration warned last fall that the devices should not be used in most cases because they can spread undetected cancers.