Lung cancer is today’s biggest killer of all of the cancers and kills more people than the next three cancers combined (breast, colon and prostate), yet is the only one that is without Medicare coverage for a screening test.
On June 4th, members of the House of Representatives, along with members of the Senate, advocacy from the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCC) and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) rallied together and appealed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging full Medicare coverage of these lifesaving measures.
Data shows a 20% mortality reduction in high-risk patients being screened for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT).
Last December, the United States Prevention Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended lung cancer screening for high-risk patients. Under the Affordable Care Act, private insurers are required to begin covering this service starting January 1, 2015.
Unfortunately, Medicare is NOT required to follow USPSTF recommendations.
With the median age for lung cancer diagnosis of 70, if Medicare does not cover lung cancer screening for high-risk patients, the population that would benefit most from the covered screening, will not have access to it.
CMS will make its final coverage decision in November 2014.