Having to pay as
little as $10 of a mammogram's cost leads many older
women to skip the breast cancer exam, a large study of
Medicare users has found.
were more than 8% lower among women required to pay a
copayment or percentage of the cost compared to those with
full coverage, according to a study led by Amal
Trivedi at Brown University. Results were being
published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
involved about 367,000 women ages 65 to 69 with Medicare
managed health plans from 2001 to 2004. The number of women
covered by plans requiring copays for mammograms rose,
from less than 1% to more than 11%, during that time.
The authors urge
Medicare to consider dropping copayments for mammograms,
which have proven health benefits because they help find
cancers at earlier stages, when they are most