Cutting out coinsurance for patients undergoing colonoscopy after a positive stool test could improve patient life-years, according to new research.
Although the full effect of Medicare’s January 2023 policy waiving cost sharing for colonoscopy after a positive stool-based colorectal cancer screening test remains uncertain, researchers estimated that if the waived cost of a follow-up colonoscopy increased adherence by 15%, then the resulting colonoscopies would extend the lives of the average-risk population by up to 20%. Furthermore, any uptick in CRC screening is expected to yield savings in healthcare spending, according to the researchers.
“Policies and efforts to increase both total screening participation and follow-up colonoscopy rates are paramount to improving public health,” noted the researchers, led by A. Mark Fendrick, MD, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, in Ann Arbor (Cancer Res Commun 2023;3:2113-2117). “Policies that remove cost barriers to completing CRC screening may increase rates of screening participation, potentially improving economic and clinical outcomes.”