Value Of Waiving Coinsurance For Colorectal Cancer Screening In Medicare Beneficiaries
Author: Elisabeth F. P. Peterse, Reinier G. S. Meester, Andrea Gini, Chyke A. Doubeni, Daniel S. Anderson, Franklin G. Berger, Ann G. Zauber, Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar
Financial barriers to colorectal cancer screening persist despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare beneficiaries may face 20 percent coinsurance for a screening colonoscopy when the procedure includes the removal of polyps or follows a positive fecal screening test. Using an established microsimulation model, we estimated that waiving this coinsurance would result in 1.7 fewer colorectal cancer deaths (a decrease of 13 percent) and $17,000 higher colorectal cancer–related costs (an increase of 0.6 percent) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services per 1,000 sixty-five-year-olds, assuming a 10-percentage-point increase in the rates of first colonoscopy screening, follow-up, and surveillance. If the rates did not change, waiving coinsurance would increase total costs by $51,000 (1.9 percent) per 1,000 sixty-five-year-olds. Estimated screening benefits were comparable when fecal testing was assumed to be the primary screening method. Moreover, waiving coinsurance would be cost-effective if the screening rate increased by 0.6 percentage points, assuming a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Thus, the waiver is likely to have a favorable balance of health and cost impact.