News | Colonoscopy Systems | July 12, 2017

Insurance Coverage for CT Colonography Increases Likelihood of Screening

Study finds those covered for CTC were 50 percent more likely to receive any form of screening

Insurance Coverage for CT Colonography Increases Likelihood of Screening

July 12, 2017 — People with insurance policies that cover computed tomography (CT) colonography for colorectal cancer screening are almost 50 percent more likely to get screened than those whose policies don’t cover the procedure, according to a new study appearing online in the journal Radiology.

Colorectal cancer kills 50,000 people each year, despite the existence of screening methods that provide early detection and treatment of the disease. The American Cancer Society recommends CT colonography as one of the screening tests that can find both pre-cancerous polyps and cancer in people age 50 or older, but insurers have been slow to cover it. CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, uses CT imaging to provide fly-through views of the colon and is a less invasive option than conventional colonoscopy.

Meanwhile, screening adherence rates have stalled at about two-thirds of the people who need to be screened, according to study lead author Maureen A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, Wis.

“CT colonography is a newer technology that can detect both pre-cancer and cancer, but because it’s relatively new it isn’t widely covered by insurance and isn’t covered by Medicare,” Smith said.

Smith and colleagues recently examined whether changing insurance benefits to cover CT colonography for screening might help improve screening rates.

The researchers looked at overall colorectal cancer screening rates for 33,177 patients under age 65 who were eligible and due for colorectal cancer screening. About half of the people in the group were ultimately screened during the study period, and researchers compared screening rates between those with and without insurance coverage for CT colonography.

Data analysis showed that the people in the study who had insurance coverage for CT colonography had a 48 percent greater likelihood of being screened by any method compared with those without coverage who were due for screening.

“Our study suggests that when people are offered a greater choice of screening tests for colorectal cancer, including CT colonography, they are more likely to complete screening to prevent colorectal cancer,” Smith said.

Smith said the study findings represent another piece of the puzzle in getting people to follow screening recommendations — a particularly important challenge in groups that traditionally have lower screening rates, such as people in rural areas, racial/ethnic minorities and people with lower incomes.

“Policymakers should consider additional options for screening and prevention of colorectal cancer,” Smith said. “CT colonography is potentially a powerful option, because there are people who will prefer it.”

Some insurers have begun increasing coverage to include CT colonography, Smith said, but the lack of coverage by Medicare is unlikely to change soon.

“Locally, insurers have been open to including CT colonography in their coverage,” she said. “Nationally, any change will probably rely on Medicare’s decision-making process, which can take substantially more time.”

Read the article “The Future of CT Colonography Screening.”

For more information: www.pubs.rsna.org/journal/radiology

Related Content

Stereotactic Radiosurgery Effective for Pediatric Arteriovenous Malformation Patients
News | Radiation Therapy | April 19, 2019
Ching-Jen Chen, M.D., of the neurosurgery department at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System, was the winner...
Video Plus Brochure Helps Patients Make Lung Cancer Scan Decision

Image courtesy of the American Thoracic Society

News | Lung Cancer | April 19, 2019
A short video describing the potential benefits and risks of low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung...
FDA Clears GE's Deep Learning Image Reconstruction Engine
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | April 19, 2019
GE Healthcare has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its Deep Learning Image...
Surgically Guided Brachytherapy Improves Outcomes for Intracranial Neoplasms
News | Brachytherapy Systems | April 18, 2019
Peter Nakaji, M.D., FAANS, general practice neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute, presented new research on...
Check-Cap Initiates U.S. Pilot Study of C-Scan for Colorectal Cancer Screening
News | Colonoscopy Systems | April 15, 2019
Check-Cap Ltd. has initiated its U.S. pilot study of the C-Scan system for prevention of colorectal cancer through...
Deep Lens Closes Series A Financing for Digital AI Pathology Platform
News | Digital Pathology | April 09, 2019
Digital pathology company Deep Lens Inc. announced the closing of a $14 million Series A financing that will further...
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Safer and as Effective as Surgical Treatment
News | Interventional Radiology | April 05, 2019
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) effectively treats uterine fibroids with fewer post-procedure complications compared...
Videos | RSNA | April 03, 2019
ITN Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most interesting new medical imaging technologies displa
News | Biopsy Systems | March 29, 2019
Dune Medical Devices has just completed the first in-man cases for Smart Biopsy, its percutaneous soft tissue biopsy...
Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Emergency X-ray Identification of Pacemakers
News | X-Ray | March 29, 2019
A research team from Imperial College London believes a new software could speed up the diagnosis and treatment of...