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RSNA: Deductible Payments May Discourage Breast Imaging

Deductible payments discouraged women from returning for diagnostic workup of abnormal screening results, caused them to skip screening

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A deductible payment for follow-up breast imaging from abnormal screening discourages roughly one in five women from returning for diagnostic workup or causes them to skip screening altogether, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 in Chicago.

Michael Ngo, M.D., from Boston Medical Center, and colleagues examined the relationship between high deductible health plans and patients’ willingness to undergo indicated breast imaging. The analysis included 932 survey responses.

The researchers found that approximately one in five (21.2 percent) would skip indicated imaging if they knew that they had to pay a deductible, while 59.4 percent disagreed. Responses were dependent on race, education level, household income, and insurance payer. Individuals who were Hispanic (33.0 percent), were high school-educated or less (31.0 percent), had a household income of <$3,500 (27.0 percent), and were Medicaid insured/uninsured (31.5 percent) most commonly said they would skip additional imaging. Similarly, 18.3 percent of respondents agreed that they would skip screening mammography if they knew that they had to pay a deductible for follow-up tests (imaging or biopsy), while 65.8 percent disagreed. Again, responses were dependent on race, education level, household income, and insurance payer.

“Our study demonstrates that out-of-pocket payments will discourage people, especially those belonging in the most vulnerable populations, from completing the last steps in the breast cancer screening process,” Ngo said in a statement. “These results could be used to advocate for legislation that will cover these important follow-up tests and prevent further exacerbation of existing health inequities.”

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