The use of United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) lung cancer screening recommendations in high-risk Medicare beneficiaries is cost effective, as demonstrated by an actuarial cost-benefit analysis conducted by Milliman, Inc. The findings were published in the August issue of the American Health and Drug Benefits journal, entitled, “Offering Lung Cancer Screening to High-Risk Medicare Beneficiaries Saves Lives and Is Cost-Effective: An Actuarial Analysis.” Medicare national examination coverage and its infrastructure and cost effectiveness of low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for people with risk of lung cancer have always begged several questions that may now have been answered.
According to the Milliman review, low-dose CT lung cancer screening is cost effective, especially when compared to other screening programs, based on National Lung Screening Trial data, which was presented to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, other published data revealed that the test is more cost effective than automobile seat belts or airbags.
“CT lung cancer screening is cost-effective and significantly reduces lung cancer deaths. Published results show no undue or lasting patient anxiety from the screening process. It is time for Medicare to cover CT lung cancer screening,” stated the chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR), Lung Cancer Screening Committee and ACR Thoracic Imaging Panel, Ella Kazerooni, M.D., FACR.
The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center program is the entity that aims to guarantee the safety and effectiveness of the exams. Lung-RADS standardizes CT lung cancer screening reporting and management, aids lung CT interpretation and supports outcomes monitoring, while lung cancer screening infrastructure are becoming more common in the country.
“Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer, annually taking more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. CT lung cancer screening could save up to 30,000 people each year. Medicare needs to help doctors save lives by fully covering these exams,” believes Kazerooni.
The results of the study are in concordance with another study published in Health Affairs in 2012, which concluded that low-dose CT lung cancer screening is cost effective in high-risk commercially-insured people.