Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Could Cost Medicare Billions

A study of Medicare beneficiaries with a history of heavy smoking found that new lung cancer screening guidelines would likely double the proportion of lung cancers found at an early stage, but at a steep cost of more than $9 billion over five years. Meanwhile, a new Medicare program means that seniors will soon have the option to receive palliative care services from certain hospice providers while still getting treatment for their illness.

The Associated Press: Lung Cancer Screening Could Cost Medicare Billions
A new study estimates that it would cost Medicare about $2 billion a year to screen certain current and former heavy smokers for lung cancer. Researchers found that annual lung scans and follow-up tests and treatment would add $3 a month to Medicare premiums (5/14).

Reuters:  New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Could Cost Medicare $9.3B
A study of Medicare beneficiaries with a history of heavy smoking found that new lung cancer screening guidelines would likely double the proportion of lung cancers found at an early stage, but at a steep cost of some $9.3 billion over five years, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The analysis, released ahead of the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting from May 30 to June 3 in Chicago, estimates for the first time the cost of implementing new recommendations released last December by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Steenhuysen, 5/14).

Reuters:  New Hospice Model Allows Curative Therapy To Continue
A new program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may remove a barrier that makes patients hesitate to opt for hospice care near the end of life. Until now, to receive hospice care, patients had to agree to forego any further attempts at curative treatments. The new Medicare Care Choices Model will soon offer an option for Medicare beneficiaries to receive palliative care services from certain hospices while still receiving treatment from curative care providers (Belisomo, 5/14).

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