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Recession and high co-pays tied to fewer colonoscopy screenings among people with health insurance
Date:2/21/2012

ed again." Low OOP was defined $50 or less; high OOP, $300 or more.

The researchers led by Dorn analyzed data from 106 U.S. health plans that fed into the IMS LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database. Dorn points out that this is nationally representative of the commercially insured U.S. population, and does not include those served by Medicare or Medicaid.

"These findings reflect the intimate link between socioeconomic factors and health care use," the authors state. When faced with the stress of economic insecurity, otherwise healthy people who are covered by health insurance "may be unable to afford screening colonoscopy, or may perceive it to be less important than competing demands for limited resources."

The findings, say the authors add to the growing evidence that cost sharing is a disincentive for preventive health services. For example, requiring women to pay a $10 to $20 co-pay, has been shown to make them less likely to undergo screening mammography.

"Taken together, these studies argue for strategies to reduce patient cost sharing for colorectal cancer screening," the report states.

The new health care reform act has eliminated Medicare and Medicaid copayments and deductible requirements for all federally recommended preventive services, including colorectal cancer screening. The authors suggest that commercial insurers "follow suit" by exploring new ways to reduce patient cost-sharing.


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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