Send to

Choose Destination
Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Apr;31(4):770-9. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0814.

An actuarial analysis shows that offering lung cancer screening as an insurance benefit would save lives at relatively low cost.

Author information

Milliman, New York City, New York, USA.


Lung cancer screening is not established as a public health practice, yet the results of a recent large randomized controlled trial showed that screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography reduces lung cancer mortality. Using actuarial models, this study estimated the costs and benefits of annual lung cancer screening offered as a commercial insurance benefit in the high-risk US population ages 50-64. Assuming current commercial reimbursement rates for treatment, we found that screening would cost about $1 per insured member per month in 2012 dollars. The cost per life-year saved would be below $19,000, an amount that compares favorably with screening for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancers. Our results suggest that commercial insurers should consider lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals to be high-value coverage and provide it as a benefit to people who are at least fifty years old and have a smoking history of thirty pack-years or more. We also believe that payers and patients should demand screening from high-quality, low-cost providers, thus helping set an example of efficient system innovation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center