Cost-Effectiveness of Waiving Coinsurance for Follow-Up Colonoscopy after a Positive Stool-Based Colorectal Screening Test in a Medicare Population

A. Mark Fendrick, David Lieberman, Vahab Vahdat, Jing Voon Chen, A. Burak Ozbay, Paul J. Limburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Commercial insurance covers a follow-up colonoscopy after a positive colorectal cancer–screening test with no patient cost-sharing. Instituting a similar policy for Medicare beneficiaries may increase screening adherence and improve outcomes. The cost-effectiveness of stool-based colorectal cancer screening was compared across adherence scenarios that assumed Medicare coinsurance status quo (20% for follow-up colonoscopy) or waived coinsurance. The CRCAIM model simulated previously unscreened eligible Medicare beneficiaries undergoing stool-based colorectal cancer screening at age 65 for 10 years. Medicare costs, colorectal cancer cases, colorectal cancer–related deaths, life-years gained (LYG), and quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) were estimated versus no screening. Scenario 1 (S1) assumed 20% coinsurance for follow-up colonoscopy. Scenario 2 (S2) assumed waived coinsurance without adherence changes. Scenarios 3–7 (S3–S7) assumed that waiving coinsurance increased real-world stool-based screening and/or follow-up colonoscopy adherence by 5% or 10%. Sensitivity analyses assumed 1%–4% increased adherence. Cost-effectiveness threshold was ≤$100,000/QALY. Waiving coinsurance without adherence changes (S2) did not affect outcomes versus S1. S3–S7 versus S1 over 10 years estimated up to 3.6 fewer colorectal cancer cases/1,000 individuals, up to 2.1 fewer colorectal cancer deaths, up to 20.7 more LYG, and had comparable total costs per-patient (≤$6,478 vs. $6,449, respectively) as reduced colorectal cancer medical costs offset increased screening and colonoscopy costs. In sensitivity analyses, any increase in adherence after waiving coinsurance was cost-effective and increased LYG. In simulated Medicare beneficiaries, waiving coinsurance for follow-up colonoscopy after a positive stool-based test improved outcomes and was cost-effective when assumed to modestly increase colorectal cancer screening and/or follow-up colonoscopy adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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