New CDC Study Looks at Mammography Screening and Out-of-Pocket Payments
Mammography screening is recommended every two years for women aged 50 –74 years at average risk for breast cancer. For some of these women, mammograms are not fully covered and require out-of-pocket payments. A new CDC study looks at how often out-of-pocket payments occur for “in-network” screening mammograms after cost sharing was removed from many insurance plans. When cost sharing is included in insurance plans, patients pay a share of the costs for healthcare covered by insurance. The results showed that some women still encounter cost sharing due to being uninsured, having private health plans that were not required to eliminate cost sharing, and getting screening services out of network or through Medicaid coverage. According to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, 23.5% of women aged 50-64 years reported payment, including 39.1% of uninsured women. For women aged 65-74 years, 11.9% reported payment, including 22.5% of Medicare-only beneficiaries. While most women reported no payment for their most recent screening mammogram, the highest reporting of any payment occurred among women who were uninsured or privately insured. More research is needed to understand why many women in some groups report paying out-of-pocket for mammograms and whether this affects screening use. Find out more about breast cancer screening programs.