Although Medicare began paying for breast cancer screening in 1991, only 36.9% of eligible women obtained mammograms during the first two years of coverage, according to a new study (See related story, p. 60).
A disproportionate share of the women who did not receive mammograms were minorities and low-income beneficiaries, it said. Furthermore, women with private supplemental insurance were three times as likely to be tested as women who must pay for a portion of testing out of pocket. Just 14.4% of women without supplemental insurance had mammograms.
The study by Jan Blustein, M.D., of Columbia University's Department of Medicine was funded by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund and reported in the April 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.