Modestly Increased Use of Colonoscopy When Copayments Are Waived
ABSTRACT Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with colonoscopy often requires expensive copayments from patients. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated elimination of copayments for CRC screening, including colonoscopy, but little is known about the effects of copayment elimination on use. The University of Texas employee, retiree, and dependent health plan instituted and promoted a waiver of copayments for screening colonoscopies in fiscal year (FY) 2009; we examined the effects of removing cost sharing on colonoscopy use.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 59,855 beneficiaries of the University of Texas employee, retiree, and dependent health plan, associated with 16 University of Texas health and nonhealth campuses, ages 50-64 years at any point in FYs 2002-2009 (267,191 person-years of follow-up evaluation). The primary outcome was colonoscopy incidence among individuals with no prior colonoscopy. We compared the age- and sex-standardized incidence ratios for colonoscopy in FY 2009 (after the copayment waiver) with the expected incidence for FY 2009, based on secular trends from years before the waiver.
The annual incidence of colonoscopy increased to 9.5% after the copayment was waived, compared with an expected incidence of 8.0% (standardized incidence ratio, 1.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-1.23; P < .001). After adjusting for age, sex, and beneficiary status, the copayment waiver remained significantly associated with greater use of colonoscopy, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.19 (95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.26).
Waiving copayments for colonoscopy screening results in a statistically significant, but modest (1.5%), increase in use. Additional strategies beyond removing financial disincentives are needed to increase use of CRC screening.
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ABSTRACT: Although African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC), they are less likely than other racial groups to undergo CRC screening. Previous research has identified barriers to CRC screening among African Americans. However we lack a systematic review that synthesizes contributing factors and informs interventions to address persistent disparities. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate barriers to colonoscopic CRC screening in African Americans. We developed a conceptual model to summarize the patient-, provider-, and system-level barriers and suggest strategies to address these barriers. Nineteen studies met inclusion criteria. Patient barriers to colonoscopy included fear, poor knowledge of CRC risk, and low perceived benefit of colonoscopy. Provider-level factors included failure to recommend screening and knowledge deficits about guidelines and barriers to screening. System barriers included financial obstacles, lack of insurance and access to care, and intermittent primary care visits. There are modifiable barriers to colonoscopic CRC screening among African Americans. Future interventions should confront patient fear, patient and physician knowledge about barriers, and access to healthcare services. As the Affordable Care Act aims to improve uptake of preventive services, focused interventions to increase CRC screening in African Americans are essential and timely. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.Preventive Medicine 12/2014; 71. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.11.022 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Medicare beneficiaries do not have to pay for screening colonoscopies but must pay coinsurance if a polyp is removed via polypectomy. Likewise, beneficiaries do not have to pay for fecal occult blood tests but are liable for cost-sharing for diagnostic colonoscopies after a positive test. Legislative and regulatory requirements related to colorectal cancer screening are described, and on the basis of Medicare claims, it is estimated that Medicare spending would increase by $48 million annually if Medicare were to waive cost-sharing requirements for these services. The economic impact on Medicare if beneficiaries were not responsible for any cost-sharing requirements related to colorectal cancer screening services is described. Cancer 2014. © 2014 American Cancer Society.Cancer 10/2014; 120(24). DOI:10.1002/cncr.29093 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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