"'Confusion' is not the word I'd apply to the medical offices producing the bills," Milani said. "The word that comes to mind for me ain't nearly so nice."
When it's working as intended, the new health law encourages more patients to get preventive care. Dr. Yul Ejnes, a Rhode Island physician, said he's personally told patients with high deductible plans about the benefit. They weren't planning to schedule a colonoscopy until they heard it would be free, Ejnes said.
If too many patients get surprise bills, however, that advantage could be lost, said Stephen Finan of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. He said it will take federal or state legislation to fix the colonoscopy loophole.
Dunphy, the Phoenix businessman, recalled how he felt when he got his colonoscopy bill, like something "underhanded" was going on.
"It's the intent of the law is to cover this stuff," Dunphy said. "It really made me angry."
AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/CarlaKJohnson