Medicare Lung Cancer Screening - senior man gets LDCT

Medicare Lung Cancer Screening

Medicare Part B covers a free lung cancer screening every 12 months. You can get a Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) diagnostic screening of your lungs if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Medicare Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility

Before your first lung cancer screening, you must schedule a “lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision-making” visit with your primary care physician (PCP). During your PCP visit, your physician will confirm your eligibility, counsel you on lung cancer screening, and assist you in making a decision.

Medicare Lung Cancer Screening - senior man gets LDCT
Senior man has a low-dose CT lung cancer screening.

Eligibility Requirements

The American Lung Association says your doctor must confirm you meet all the following high-risk conditions:

  • Age 55 to 77
  • No current signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • You have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (an average of one pack (20 cigarettes) per day for 30 years).
  • Current smoker or former smoker who quit within the last 15 years.

If you meet the above eligibility requirements, your doctor can provide you a written order for the LDCT lung screening. Furthermore, your doctor is required to counsel you on the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening.

Doctor confirms senior's smoking history

Medicare Lung Cancer Screening Counseling

According to CMS.gov, your doctor or qualified non-physician practitioner may furnish your lung cancer screening counseling. For example, a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist can provide this counseling. The doctor will counsel you on the importance of follow-up annual lung cancer screenings.

Furthermore, you may learn about the risks of comorbidity – having two or more long-term medical conditions. For example, you may be diagnosed with lung cancer and have another chronic illness, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The practitioner will counsel former smokers on abstaining from smoking and counsel current smokers on quitting smoking. Moreover, Medicare covers up to 8 tobacco cessation counseling visits per year.

Medicare Lung Cancer Screening - Doctor consults with senior woman

Shared Decision-Making

Your doctor will consult you on the benefits and harms of lung cancer screening. This consult includes the risks of overdiagnosis, the diagnosis of a condition that would not have caused symptoms or death, and radiation exposure. Furthermore, your doctor will warn you that a false-positive diagnosis could occur. After this consult, you and your doctor can decide whether a Medicare-covered lung cancer screening is right for you.

Shared Decision Making

Medicare Part B Preventive Services

Medicare Part B - senior woman gets a flu shot

Discover more Medicare Part B preventive services, including free colorectal cancer screenings, vaccine shots, and telehealth counseling. Furthermore, find out how much Medicare Part B premium and deductible will increase in 2021. 

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