Cancer screening is essential to early detection and treatment of certain forms of the deadly disease, but it’s not as prevalent as it should be. For instance, a recent state report on New Jersey's five largest Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) shows that on average, only 58 percent of patients between the ages of 50 and 75 get regular colorectal cancer screening, otherwise known as colonoscopies.
The state considers this procedure a shared responsibility between the HMO and patient, since the HMO must encourage participation in the screening. The best performing organization in this category was CIGNA, with 65 percent, while Horizon performed the worst, with 52 percent.
Pap Smear testing was the most regular type of cancer screening, with 74 percent of HMO female patients between the ages of 21 and 64 getting them each year. In this category, 80 percent of Oxford patients underwent these tests annually, while only 67 percent of Horizon patients did.
Breast cancer screens, or mammograms, were regularly conducted on 67 percent of patients between the age of 42 and 69. This time, Amerihealth was the top HMO in the category, with 69 percent of patients regularly receiving this screening. Once again, Horizon performed the worst, with only 65 percent of its patients getting the test.