87% of eligible patients not undergoing lung cancer screening, analysis finds

Just 12.9 percent of eligible Medicare and Medicaid patients were screened for lung cancer between 2019-2021, despite having insurance coverage, according to a recent analysis of data from Epic's Health Research Network. 

Among nearly 382,000 patients who were eligible for screening under U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, 87 percent didn't receive a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer, despite being insured by Medicaid or Medicare, according to the findings published June 18. 

Researchers did not observe a significant difference in lung cancer screening rates among those insured through Medicaid versus Medicare. 

Additionally, screening rates among Medicaid patients in states where lung cancer screening exams are covered (15.7 percent) were not significantly higher than insured patients living in states where the screening exams are not covered (9.3 percent.)

"Our findings suggest that while insurance coverage is a factor in screening rates for lung cancer, it is not the only factor preventing eligible populations from being screened," researchers said. "Patients eligible for lung cancer screening may not be aware of their eligibility and whether the screening CT exam is covered by their insurance." 

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