Effective immediately, Medicare will now cover screening for lung cancer using Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT), according to an announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
"This is the first time that Medicare has covered lung cancer screening. This is an important new Medicare preventive benefit since lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States," Patrick Conway, chief medical officer and deputy administrator for innovation and quality for CMS, says in an announcement.
To receive lung cancer screening with LDCT once per year, Medicare beneficiaries must:
- Be between the ages of 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
- Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 "pack years"
- Receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner
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