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Is cost a barrier to screening mammography for low-income women receiving Medicare benefits? A randomized trial
Quantitative Health Sciences Publications and Presentations
  • Catarina I. Kiefe, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Siripoom V. McKay
  • Amir Halevy
  • Baruch A. Brody
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Publication Date
Document Type
Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Costs and Cost Analysis; Federal Government; Female; Health Behavior; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; *Health Services Accessibility; Humans; Mammography; *Medicare; Middle Aged; Patient Compliance; *Patient Selection; *Poverty; Socioeconomic Factors; United States; Urban Health

BACKGROUND: In 1991, Medicare began covering screening mammograms subject to copayment and deductible. This study evaluated the effectiveness of Medicare in removing financial barriers to screening mammography among low-income older women.

METHODS: In an inner-city public hospital's General Medicine Clinic, 119 consecutive, eligible, and consenting Medicare-enrolled women without known risk factors for breast cancer other than age, and no mammogram in the previous 2 years, were entered into a randomized controlled trial with follow-up after 2 months. The mean age was 71 years; 77% were black, 92% had an annual income below $10,000, and 52% had had a previous mammogram. All patients were counseled concerning indications for screening mammograms and Medicare coverage, and all were referred to a low-cost mammography facility. Sixty-one subjects were randomly assigned a voucher for a free screening mammogram at the referral facility. Obtaining a mammogram within 60 days of study entry was the main outcome measure.

RESULTS: Of the women given vouchers, 27 (44%) obtained screening mammograms, compared with six (10%) of those without vouchers (P < .001). Adjustment by multiple logistic regression confirmed this association, yielding an adjusted odds ratio of 7.4 (95% confidence interval, 2.5 to 21.4). Knowledge concerning mammography and breast cancer increased significantly overall (and within randomization groups) between initial interview and follow-up; fear did not change. For women without the voucher, the main reason for not obtaining a mammogram was financial; the main reason for women with the voucher was transportation.

CONCLUSION: In a low-income, inner-city population of older women, financial barriers to screening mammography persist despite Medicare coverage.

Arch Intern Med. 1994 Jun 13;154(11):1217-24.
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Citation Information
Catarina I. Kiefe, Siripoom V. McKay, Amir Halevy and Baruch A. Brody. "Is cost a barrier to screening mammography for low-income women receiving Medicare benefits? A randomized trial" Vol. 154 Iss. 11 (1994) ISSN: 0003-9926 (Linking)
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