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Projected Clinical, Resource Use, and Fiscal Impacts of Implementing Low-Dose Computed Tomography Lung Cancer Screening in Medicare.
Pubmed ID
25943596 (View this publication on the PubMed website)
Digital Object Identifier
J Oncol Pract. 2015 May; Volume [Epub ahead of print]: Pages [Epub ahead of print]

Roth JA, Sullivan SD, Goulart BH, Ravelo A, Sanderson JC, Ramsey SD


PURPOSE: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a national coverage determination that provides reimbursement for low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening for enrollees age 55 to 77 years with ≥ 30-pack-year smoking history who currently smoke or quit in the last 15 years. The clinical, resource use, and fiscal impacts of this change in screening coverage policy remain uncertain.

METHODS: We developed a simulation model to forecast the 5-year health outcome impacts of the CMS low-dose CT screening policy in Medicare compared with no screening. The model used data from the National Lung Screening Trial, CMS enrollment statistics and reimbursement schedules, and peer-reviewed literature. Outcomes included counts of screening examinations, patient cases of lung cancer detected, stage distribution, and total and per-enrollee per-month fiscal impact.

RESULTS: Over 5 years, we project that low-dose CT screening will result in 10.7 million more low-dose CT scans, 52,000 more lung cancers detected, and increased overall expenditure of $6.8 billion ($2.22 per Medicare enrollee per month). The most fiscally impactful factors were the average cost-per-screening episode, proportion of enrollees eligible for screening, and cost of treating stage I lung cancer.

CONCLUSION: Low-dose CT screening is expected to increase lung cancer diagnoses, shift stage at diagnosis toward earlier stages, and substantially increase Medicare expenditures over a 5-year time horizon. These projections can inform planning efforts by Medicare administrators, contracted health care providers, and other stakeholders.

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