News | Women's Health | April 05, 2023

21% of survey respondents would skip imaging if required to pay a deductible 

21% of survey respondents would skip imaging if required to pay a deductible

Bar graph shows the percentage of women who agreed with the statement “If I knew that I had to pay a deductible for the additional imaging, I would skip this additional imaging” by insurance payor, annual household income, education and race or ethnicity. Graph courtesy of RSNA. 

 


April 5, 2023 — Researchers who surveyed women attending breast cancer screening appointments found that one in five is likely to skip additional testing after an abnormal finding on their mammogram if there is a deductible or co-payment, according to an editorial published in Radiology, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). 

Healthcare costs and insurance premiums have increased in recent years. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have grown in popularity, particularly among younger, healthy people. 

It is believed that HDHPs lower overall health care costs by making individuals more cognizant of their medical expenses. The higher deductible also lowers monthly insurance premiums, making these plans an attractive option for healthy people who may typically need coverage only for preventative care or health emergencies. 

But while HDHPs offer some advantages, the high out-of-pocket deductible cost—a minimum of $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families—may prevent people from seeking necessary care. 

“Currently, there is no out-of-pocket payment or co-payment for screening mammography since it’s covered under the ACA,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Ngo, M.D., radiology resident at Boston Medical Center and Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. “However, any follow-up diagnostic imaging for an abnormal finding seen on screening mammography may require the patient to pay a co-payment or deductible, depending on their healthcare plan.” 

Dr. Ngo and colleagues wanted to assess the impact that these payments had on a patient’s willingness to return for important follow-up imaging. 

The researchers surveyed 932 patients presenting for breast imaging at Boston Medical Center between September 2021 and February 2022. The survey was comprised of demographic questions on race, education level, annual household income and insurance payor, as well as scenarios about utilization of breast imaging. There was a variable response rate on questions.  

When asked whether they would skip indicated imaging if they knew they had to pay a deductible, of 714 respondents, 151 (21.2%) said they would skip imaging, 424 (59.4%) said they would not skip imaging, and 139 (19.5%) were undecided. 

“The patients who were more likely to say they would skip diagnostic imaging tended to be racial/ethnic minorities, have a lower educational level, have a lower-income household, are on Medicaid or have no insurance at all,” Dr. Ngo said. 

The groups with the highest percentage of responses indicating they would skip additional imaging were Hispanic (33.0%), high school educated or less (31.0%), household income less than $35,000 (27.0%) and Medicaid/uninsured (31.5%). 

“Prior research has shown that these groups tend to already have lower adherence to preventative services, including breast cancer screening, and tend to have worse breast cancer outcomes,” Dr. Ngo said. “Based on these results, these out-of-pocket payments may account for at least a part of the delay in seeking care. This, in turn, leads to delays in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, increases overall breast cancer mortality and exacerbates existing gaps in breast cancer care in women who already have financial barriers in care.” 

The survey also asked whether respondents would forgo the initial screening mammography exam if they knew they would have to pay a deductible for follow-up tests. Of 707 respondents, 129 (18.3%) said they would skip the screening mammography exam, 465 (65.8%) would not skip mammography, and 113 (16.0%) were undecided. 

Identifying socioeconomic barriers to health care is critical in addressing existing disparities and ensuring better outcomes for vulnerable patient populations. The researchers hope that these findings will be useful in efforts to remove financial barriers to care. 

“We hope these results can be used to advocate for legislation to eliminate out-of-pocket expenditure for screening diagnostic imaging follow-up to alleviate the existing healthcare disparities,” Dr. Ngo said. 

For more information: www.rsna.org 

Related content on cancer screening: 

Racial/Ethnic Disparities Persist in Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility 

Primary Lung Cancers Detected by LDCT are at Lower Risk of Brain Metastases 

Physician and Patient Groups Call On CMS to Update Medicare Lung Cancer Screening Coverage 

USPSTF Expands Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility Thresholds  

Low-dose CT for Lung Cancer Screening: Benefit Outweighs Potential Harm 


Related Content

News | Breast Imaging

June 18, 2024 — Delphinus Medical Technologies, a pioneering medical imaging company that developed the SoftVue Breast ...

Time June 18, 2024
arrow
News | Digital Radiography (DR)

June 12, 2024 — Carestream launched its Image Suite MR 10 Software to help deliver a boost to productivity and ...

Time June 12, 2024
arrow
News | MRI Breast

June 12, 2024 — Royal Philips recently announced the 1,111th installation of its revolutionary BlueSeal 1.5T magnet ...

Time June 12, 2024
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

June 7, 2024 — Scholars and studies funded by Susan G. Komen(R), the world’s leading breast cancer organization ...

Time June 07, 2024
arrow
News | Breast Density

June 6, 2024 — Subsequent rounds of abbreviated breast MRI (AB-MR) screening in patients with dense breasts had lower ...

Time June 06, 2024
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

June 4, 2024 — Using artificial intelligence (AI), breast radiologists in Denmark have improved breast cancer screening ...

Time June 04, 2024
arrow
Feature | Radiology Business | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane

As we flip the page to a new month on our calendars, here is a look at the Top 10 pieces of content viewers were reading ...

Time June 04, 2024
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

May 28, 2024 — iCAD, Inc., a global leader in clinically proven AI-powered cancer detection solutions, announced a ...

Time May 28, 2024
arrow
News | FDA

May 22, 2024 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall of the Hologic Inc. BioZorb marker due to ...

Time May 22, 2024
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

May 22, 2024 — Lunit, a provider of Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions for cancer diagnostics and ...

Time May 22, 2024
arrow
Subscribe Now