Should Health Insurers Cover Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose CAT Scans?

Jaan Sidorov

Posted 4/9/12 on the Disease Management Care Blog

Remember this article on screening for lung cancer?

More than 54,000 former and current tobacco users who looked like they were free of cancer were randomly assigned to a yearly cheapo chest x-ray vs. a yearly pricey low-radiation-dose CAT scan. Over 5 to 7 years of follow-up, the CAT scan was better at picking up early lung cancer (119 cases) which translated into a small but statistically significant survival advantage of 62 lives saved per 100,000 patient years.

Does this mean that Medicare, Medicaid and all commercial insurers should “cover” a baseline and yearly follow-up screening CAT scan for tobacco smokers at risk for lung cancer?  According to actuary Bruce Pyenson and colleagues writing in the latest issue of Health Affairsthe answer may be yes.

The Disease Management Care Blog thinks the answer may still be no.

Is it being a heartless curmudgeon?  Read on and decide for yourself…….

Continue reading “Should Health Insurers Cover Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose CAT Scans?”