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

Distress Associated With Missed Appointments and Hospital Admission During Cancer Treatment
News | Radiation Therapy | September 26, 2017
Psychological distress has long been associated with negative health outcomes for cancer patients, though specific...
Adding Radiation to Chemotherapy May Dramatically Improve Survival for Advanced-Stage NSCLC Patients
News | Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) | September 26, 2017
Combining radiation therapy with chemotherapy for patients with limited metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)...
Toshiba Medical Demonstrates Radiation Therapy Planning Enhancements for Aquilion LB CT at ASTRO
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 25, 2017
September 25, 2017 — Toshiba Medical will showcase new advanced technology on its Aquilion LB...
Breast Cancer Patients Largely Find Radiation Therapy Experience Better Than Expected
News | Women's Health | September 25, 2017
A new survey finds breast cancer patients’ actual radiation therapy experiences largely exceeded their expectations....
Long-Term Survival Rates More Than Double Previous Estimates for Locally Advanced Lung Cancer
News | Radiation Therapy | September 25, 2017
Long-term results of a phase III clinical trial indicate survival rates for patients receiving chemoradiation for...
Theraclion to Launch Metastatic Breast Cancer Trial Combining Echotherapy and Immunotherapy
News | Focused Ultrasound Therapy | September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017 — Theraclion and co-lead investigator David Brenin, M.D., from the University of Virginia School o
Toshiba Highlights Latest CT Advancements at RSNA 2017
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 18, 2017
Toshiba Medical announced that it will display several new enhancements to its existing computed tomography (CT)...
Hitachi Supria True64 CT Receives FDA Clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 15, 2017
September 15, 2017 — Hitachi Healthcare Americas Inc. announced it has attained U.S.
Matrix Analytics Beginning Validation of Deep Learning Lung CT Tools
News | Lung Cancer | September 13, 2017
Matrix Analytics announced it will clinically validate its LungDirect deep learning and predictive analytics tools for...
Overlay Init