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Time to Follow-up After Colorectal Cancer Screening by Health Insurance Type

      Introduction

      The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that patients with Medicaid insurance or Medicaid-like coverage would have longer times to follow-up and be less likely to complete colonoscopy compared with patients with commercial insurance within the same healthcare systems.

      Methods

      A total of 35,009 patients aged 50–64years with a positive fecal immunochemical test were evaluated in Northern and Southern California Kaiser Permanente systems and in a North Texas safety-net system between 2011 and 2012. Kaplan–Meier estimation was used between 2016 and 2017 to calculate the probability of having follow-up colonoscopy by coverage type. Among Kaiser Permanente patients, Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% CIs for the association between coverage type and receipt of follow-up, adjusting for sociodemographics and health status.

      Results

      Even within the same integrated system with organized follow-up, patients with Medicaid were 24% less likely to complete follow-up as those with commercial insurance. Percentage receiving colonoscopy within 3 months after a positive fecal immunochemical test was 74.6% for commercial insurance, 63.10% for Medicaid only, and 37.5% for patients served by the integrated safety-net system.

      Conclusions

      This study found that patients with Medicaid were less likely than those with commercial insurance to complete follow-up colonoscopy after a positive fecal immunochemical test and had longer average times to follow-up. With the future of coverage mechanisms uncertain, it is important and timely to assess influences of health insurance coverage on likelihood of follow-up colonoscopy and identify potential disparities in screening completion.
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