Medicare: $9.3 Billion For New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

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U.S. researchers concluded that new lung cancer screening guidelines would likely lead a doubling in the amount of cancers found in early stages, but this would come at an immense price monetarily. The program would cost Medicare $9.3 billion over five years. The recommendation would cover people between the ages of 55-80 so potential cost to Medicare could be extremely high. The Medicare advisory panel voted against covering the tests due to lack of sufficient evidence. Experts on the matter cited overwhelming costs for their decision.  A study done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle used a mathematical model that calculated cost at $5.9B-12.7B depending on the percentage of people who were offered screenings would get tested over a five year period. 25% on the low end and 75% on the higher end.

American Society for Clinical Oncology's President Dr. Clifford Hudis was quoted in Julie Steenhuysen's article stating that the study is a model, "not actual data," and stressed that while "low dose CT screening offers a long-awaited early lung cancer detection strategy," doctors should still encourage patients to stop smoking.

Click here to read this article  from Reuters in it's entirety.