Accession Number : ADA336983

Title :   Coverage of Laser Technology by Health Insurers.

Corporate Author : OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT WASHINGTON DC

PDF Url : ADA336983

Report Date : AUG 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 42

Abstract : New medical technologies hold both the promise of significant health benefits and the prospect of additional health care spending. Private health insurance companies-through which most health care is paid for-shoulder a considerable responsibility in deciding which new technologies will be covered by insurance, and when in the cycle of development the time arrives to approve coverage. In general, insurance coverage is denied for technologies that are considered unproved or experimental. Despite the obvious importance of these decisions, relatively little systematic information is available about the procedures that insurers go through and the criteria they use to weigh the evidence. This background paper presents some empirical information on how insurers consider payment for new medical devices. It describes the survey results of medical directors affiliated with private health insurers about their coverage decisions using, as examples, three applications of lasers: laser angioplasty for opening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries; laser discectomy for treating herniated intervertebral discs; and photodynamic therapy (using a light-sensitive dye) for bladder cancer.

Descriptors :   *LASERS, *MEDICAL SERVICES, *HEALTH CARE FACILITIES, *INSURANCE, DECISION MAKING, HEALTH, CYCLES, MEDICINE, SURVEYS, VERTEBRATES, BACKGROUND, DISKS, SURGERY, BENEFITS, PAPER, CANCER, BLADDERS.

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Medicine and Medical Research
      Medical Facilities, Equipment and Supplies

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE