Medicare Proposes Paying for Lung Cancer Screenings for High Risk Patients

NEW YORK (November 12, 2014): The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) strongly supports the recent proposal issued by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to begin covering lung cancer screening tests for high risk patients.

Lung cancer kills nearly 160,000 Americans each year and claims more lives than any other cancer. Although survival rates have increased over the years, lung cancer remains so deadly in part because of the lack of early screening and prevention.

A recent major research study concluded that low-dose CT screenings for individuals at high- risk have the potential to dramatically increase lung cancer survival rates. This proposal offers coverage to certain high-risk Medicare recipients up to the age of 74. To be eligible, Medicare patients would be current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years, and have a 30-pack-per-year smoking history.

“Research continues to provide us with groundbreaking strategies for improving care and outcomes,” said LCRF Board of Directors Chairman, Pippa Gerard. “We applaud the collective efforts of the government and the lung cancer community for pushing this forward, especially during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This continued progress has the potential to save thousands of lives.”

Dr. Jim Dougherty, Chair of the LCRF Medical Advisory Board, echoed support for the proposed coverage. “Low dose CT scans for high risk patients is a critical step in reducing mortality from the disease.”

According to the Associated Press, the proposal is open for public comment for 30 days and would not become final until February. However, such draft decisions are rarely reversed and public health experts do not expect any changes to the main elements.

For more information and to read the complete NY Times press release, please click here.