ACR Calls for Full Medicare Coverage for CT Lung Cancer Screening

Citing an actuarial cost analysis that shows CT screening for Medicare patients at high risk for lung cancer is cost effective, the American College of Radiology is calling on Medicare to rapidly provide full national coverage of low-dose CT screening of those at high risk for lung cancer.

The actuarial and consulting firm Milliman, Inc, published the analysis in the August issue of American Health and Drug Benefits. The firm found that use of United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) lung cancer screening recommendations in high-risk Medicare beneficiaries is cost effective.

“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,” said Ella Kazerooni, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Committee and thoracic imaging panel.

This latest Milliman analysis echoes a 2012 study published in Health Affairs that found low-dose CT lung cancer screening is cost effective in high-risk commercially-insured people, based on an analysis of National Lung Screening Trial data presented to the National Institutes of Health. The analysis confirmed that the test is cost effective — particularly compared to other screening programs.

Significant lung cancer screening infrastructure is growing. The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center (Lung-RADS) program offers guidelines for providing safe and effective screening. Lung-RADS standardizes CT lung cancer screening reporting and management, aids lung CT interpretation and supports outcomes monitoring.

Source: American College of Radiology