611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Basic InformationLatest News
New Hormonal Pill May Boost Outcomes for Older Breast Cancer PatientsBlack Women Have Triple the Odds for Lymphedema After Breast Cancer SurgeryWere Cancer Patients Neglected in U.S. COVID Vaccine Rollout?More Evidence That Pandemic Delayed Cancer DiagnosesDo Immune-Based Cancer Drugs Work Better in Men?Gene Test Spots Breast Cancer Patients Who Can Skip Post-Op ChemoOld Spice, Secret Antiperspirants Recalled Due to BenzeneClinical Trials Are Becoming More Diverse, But There's Still Work To DoFDA Approves Imaging Drug That Can Help Surgeons Spot Ovarian CancersA Routine Skin Check Could Save Your LifeWhat You Need to Know About Stomach CancerCOVID Booster Shot Helps Cancer PatientsLung Cancer Survival Continues to Improve, But Not for AllBreast Cancer Diagnosis Linked to Higher Odds for Dangerous A-FibDrug Used to Prevent Miscarriage May Raise Lifetime Cancer Risk in OffspringMore Evidence That COVID Vaccines Are Safe for Cancer PatientsExercise Helps Ease Arm, Shoulder Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery50 Years On, Real Progress in War Against CancerBiden Announces New Lung Health Program for U.S. VeteransTwo New Symptoms That Could Point to Pancreatic CancerBlack Men Less Likely to Get Follow-Up MRI When Test Suggests Prostate CancerUrine Test May Spot Aggressive Prostate CancerWill an Early-Stage Breast Cancer Spread? New Analysis Offers Some AnswersMore Lung Cancer Patients Are Surviving, ThrivingYounger Age Doesn't Boost Survival With Advanced Colon CancerShorter Course of Post-Op Radiation May Work Well for Prostate Cancer PatientsMany Blood Cancer Patients Get Little Protection From COVID VaccineToo Little Vitamin D Could Raise Colon Cancer Risk in Black WomenTargeted High-Dose Radiation Helps Fight Advanced Lung CancerCancer Costs U.S. Patients $21 Billion a YearWhy Are Cases of Pancreatic Cancer Rising in Young Women?Quit Smoking Before 45 & Wipe Out 87% of Lung Cancer RiskJust 5 Hours of Moderate Exercise a Week Cuts Your Cancer RiskWhen Cancer Strikes, Who's at Higher Risk for Suicide?Powell's COVID Death Despite Vaccination Shows Danger to Those With Weakened Immune SystemsTreating Depression Could Lengthen Lung Cancer Patients' LivesResearchers Find Better Way to Fight Breast Cancer That Has Spread to BrainCancer Care Costs U.S. $156 Billion Per Year; Drugs a Major FactorNearly Half of U.S. Breast Cancer Patients Use Pot or CBD; Many Don't Tell DoctorsAnti-Nausea Drug May Boost Survival for Some Cancer PatientsYour Free Cancer Screen Shows Trouble: What If You Can't Afford the Follow-Up?Access to Top Drugs Makes the Difference for Black Lung Cancer PatientsWhy Skin Cancer Checks Are Even More Important for Hispanic People1 in 7 Cancer Patients Worldwide Missed a Surgery Due to PandemicAI Helps Rule Out Cancer in Women With Dense BreastsExisting Drugs Could Treat Lung Cancer in NonsmokersColon Cancer Diagnoses Fell 40% in Pandemic, and That's Not Good NewsRacial Disparities Persist With Childhood CancersNew Tests for Colon, Prostate Cancer Show PromiseTough Choices: Chemo That Can Save Kids With Cancer Can Also Damage Hearing
LinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Pain Management

Your Free Cancer Screen Shows Trouble: What If You Can't Afford the Follow-Up?

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 12th 2021

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Just over a decade ago, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) made many common cancer screenings free. But a pair of new studies caution that when those free tests turn up signs of trouble, important follow-up tests may be too pricey for some patients.

The bigger concern: Some patients may forgo these expensive tests, even when they may prove lifesaving.

"With the Affordable Care Act provisions, any United States Preventative Services Task Force [USPSTF] Grade A or B recommendations are covered at no cost," explained Dr. Tina Tailor, lead author on one of the studies. "This includes a number of things, but some example of screening tests would include mammography, colon cancer screening, lung cancer screening and cervical cancer screening."

And the move towards cost-free screening "is a fundamental step in enabling access to preventive care," said Tailor, who is an assistant professor of radiology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Her study honed in on the cost of lung cancer follow-up tests and was published recently in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

"Specifically, this refers to various types of biopsies, including surgery," Tailor explained. "A minority of patients would need these types of follow-ups. In the population studied in our investigation, approximately 7%.

"We found that individuals requiring downstream invasive testing after their [free] screening examination paid anywhere between $0 to approximately $7,500 out of pocket," she noted.

Four in 10 patients who underwent a post-lung cancer screening procedure didn't pay anything for their follow-up; the other 60% had to cough up cash to do so.

The second study, published recently in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, focused on the costs of a follow-up exam following concerning results from a Pap smear, HPV test or routine cervical exam.

Called a colposcopy, this type of exam may include a biopsy and a range of other gynecologic procedures.

Led by University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. A. Mark Fendrick and ob-gyn assistant professor Dr. Michelle Moniz, the investigation found that women undergoing a colposcopy had to fork out an average of $112 for the procedure alone.

If cells were extracted for further analysis, that figure rose to $155, the team found. And when a further analysis ended up involving a biopsy, the additional financial hit to patients could be as high as $1,000, based on 2019 figures.

"Costs much lower than these have been shown to prevent women from obtaining recommended health care," Moniz said in a university news release. "So it is high time we consider eliminating financial barriers to recommended care to prevent cancer."

What can be done? "We need to think about innovative insurance design and health policies that go beyond no-cost provisions for the initial screening test," said Tailor, who called ensuring for adequate coverage for all follow-up testing and procedures, given their critical and often lifesaving roles.

That call was seconded by Katie Keith, a research faculty member with the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, who also runs Keith Policy Solutions in Washington, D.C. She stressed that the concerns stem from the way insurance companies currently process reimbursements.

"I would not call [this] a failure of the Affordable Care Act, which has dramatically increased access to preventive care and screenings," Keith said. "But additional clarity is likely needed as plans, insurers and providers draw distinctions between 'preventive' and 'diagnostic' care."

This is because "when the care is categorized or coded as 'preventive,' it must be provided without cost-sharing," Keith noted. "But when it is considered 'diagnostic' to, say, confirm prior test results or rule out an abnormal initial screening, patients can be asked to pay cost-sharing."

On that front, there has been some movement, she noted. "For instance, the Biden administration recently issued guidance to confirm that the full scope of [HIV prevention] PrEP-related services -- including certain follow-up care -- must be covered without cost-sharing, not just the medication itself.

"But in the absence of such explicit guidance, plans and insurers have some flexibility in how to define when a service qualifies as preventive, Keith noted. That means that in the end, any "comprehensive solution may require additional congressional action, to ensure the availability of follow-up tests without cost-sharing."

More information

There's more on rules mandating free screenings at U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

SOURCES: Tina Tailor, MD, assistant professor, radiology, department of radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Katie Keith, J.D., M.P.H.. research faculty, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University, and principal, Keith Policy Solutions LLC, Washington, D.C.; University of Michigan, news release, Sept. 30, 2021; Journal of the American College of Radiology, Sept. 30, 2021; Obstetrics & Gynecology, Sept. 29, 2021