Elimination of cost-sharing and receipt of screening for colorectal and breast cancer

In Cancer, Stacey Fedewa and colleagues, including Chyke Doubeni, investigate whether the cost-sharing provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which aimed to reduce financial barriers for preventive services, affected the prevalence of screening for certain cancers. The research looks specifically at the rates of screening for colorectal cancer and breast cancer among the privately insured and Medicare-enrolled adults of varying socioeconomic status (SES). It uses data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2008 and 2013. The authors find that the rate of screening for colorectal cancer increased in low SES adults and Medicare-insured patients, but not in high-income, most-educated and privately insured individuals. The screening rate for breast cancer remained unchanged in the overall population and in low SES groups. The authors conclude that the increases in colorectal cancer screening prevalence confined to respondents with low SES may reflect the ACA’s removal of financial barriers.