The agency has announced today that it will indeed cover the costs of lung cancer screenings for a particular group of people that are Medicare recipients.
Medicare will be covering the cost of lung cancer screenings using low-dose computerized tomography. Medicare will cover for people who are at risk of developing the disease, and must be between the ages of 55 and 77, and must not show any symptoms or signs of any lung illnesses.
The members of the group who are considered to be at a very high risk of developing lung cancer are those who have been smoking a pack of cigarettes daily for at least thirty years, or who have been heavy smokers but have quit the habit within the past fifteen years.
A lung cancer screening can be expensive- at least several hundred dollars.
Some hospitals in the Northeast Ohio areas have been offering discounts for low-dose CT screenings for patients who had a high risk of developing lung cancer.
In 2011, the University Hospitals Case Medical Center was the first to offer lung cancer screenings at a significant discount of $99.
This paved the way for other medical centers, like the Cleveland Clinic, to offer discount screenings.
CMS wrote that:
“We are finalizing eligibility criteria for radiologists and imaging facilities for lung cancer screening with modifications based on the evidence reviewed, including public comments.”
Akron General Medical Center, Lake Health, the Clinic and UH are some of the 18 locations in Ohio that have been designated by the American College of Radiology to be centers to lung cancer screenings.
Most of the screening programs match the patients’ characteristics in the National Cancer Institute’s landmark National Lung Screening Trial.
This compared the low-dose CT with the standard chest X-ray in current and former smokers aged between 55 and 74.
A recent study showed that the low-dose CT screening reduced the risks of dying from lung cancer by 20%.
The experts say that the CT screening is more effective and can spot tumors and nodules more efficiently than other forms of scanning.
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