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Is Cost a Barrier to Screening Mammography for Low Income Women Receiving Medicare Benefits?

June 1994

Catarina I. Kiefe, Siripoom V. McKay, Amir Halevy, Baruch A. Brody


This randomized controlled trial tests the effectiveness of offering free mammography screening to low income patients (specifically, older women). Over one hundred Medicare patients were randomly assigned to a control group, and a treatment group who received vouchers for free mammograms. Results show that 44% of women who received vouchers obtained mammograms, compared to only 10% of women in the control group.

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Policy Implications

These results show that cost is a large barrier to receiving preventative mammography screenings. Policies providing screenings free of charge are likely to increase the prevalence of preventative screenings.

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