Differences in United States Insurance Payer Policies and American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) Model Policy on Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Michael C. Roach, Tarita O. Thomas, Anthony J. Paravati, Anita Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Insurance payers in the United States vary in the indications for which they consider stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) “medically necessary.” We compared changes in policies after the last update to the American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) SBRT model policy. Methods and Materials: We identified 77 payers with SBRT policies in 2015 from a policy aggregator, as well as 4 national benefits managers (NBMs). Of these, 65 payers and 3 NBMs had publicly available updates since 2015. For each of the indications in ASTRO's model policy, we calculated the proportion of payers that considered SBRT medically necessary. We used Fisher's exact test to compare these proportions between 2015 and now, between policies updated in the past 12 months and those updated less often, and between national and regional payers currently. Results: Payers consider SBRT medically necessary most often for primary lung cancer (97%), reirradiation to the spine (91%), prostate cancer (68%), primary liver cancer (66%), and spinal metastases with radioresistant histologies (66%). Policies have become more aligned with ASTRO's model policy over time. National payers and NBMs cover indications in higher proportions than regional payers. Conclusions: Although there have been improvements over time, more work is needed to align payer policies with ASTRO's model SBRT policy, especially at the regional level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-744
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume104
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019

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