An actuarial analysis of lung cancer screening

Bruce Pyenson presented his study on lung cancer screening at Health Affair’s “Value in Cancer Care” briefing on April 12 in Washington DC. Watch his presentation at HealthAffairs.org – scroll down to “The Case For Lung Cancer Screening of High-Risk Patients & Improving Payment And Delivery Of Cancer Care.”

Also, here is the study’s abstract:

“Lung cancer screening is not established as a public health practice, yet the results of a recent large randomized controlled trial showed that screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography reduces lung cancer mortality. Using actuarial models, this study estimated the costs and benefits of annual lung cancer screening offered as a commercial insurance benefit in the high-risk US population ages 50-64. Assuming current commercial reimbursement rates for treatment, we found that screening would cost about $1 per insured member per month in 2012 dollars. The cost per life-year saved would be below $19,000, an amount that compares favorably with screening for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancers. Our results suggest that commercial insurers should consider lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals to be high-value coverage and provide it as a benefit to people who are at least fifty years old and have a smoking history of thirty pack-years or more. We also believe that payers and patients should demand screening from high-quality, low-cost providers, thus helping set an example of efficient system innovation.”

The full downloadable version of the article is available at HealthAffairs.org (subscription required).

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