Association between colorectal cancer testing and insurance type: Evidence from the Swiss Health Interview Survey 2012

Colorectal Cancer

Braun AL, et al. Prev Med Rep 2020.


Both colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) are commonly used for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, but colonoscopy costs much more than FOBT. Swiss insurance offers high or low deductibles and choice of basic or private insurance. We hypothesized that high deductibles and basic insurance discourage colonoscopy, but do not change FOBT rates. We determined the proportion of patients tested for CRC in Switzerland (colonoscopy within 10 years, FOBT within 2 years), and determined

associations with health insurance type. We extracted data on 50-75-year-olds from the Swiss Health Interview Surveys of 2012 to determine colonoscopy and FOBT testing rates (n = 7335). Multivariate logistic regression models estimated prevalence ratios (PRs) of CRC testing associated with health insurance type (deductible and private insurance), adjusted for socio-demographic factors (age, gender, education, income) and self-rated health. The weighted proportion of individuals tested for CRC within recommended intervals was 39.5%. Testing with colonoscopy was significantly associated with private insurance (PR 1.85, 95% CI: 1.46-2.35) and low deductible (PR 2.00, 95% CI: 1.56-2.57). Testing with FOBT was significantly associated with deductible (PR 1.71, 95%CI:1.09-2.68) but not with private insurance. About 60% of the Swiss population was not current with CRC testing. After adjusting for covariates, private insurance and low deductible was significantly associated with higher prevalence of CRC testing, indicating that waiving the deductible could increase CRC screening uptake and reduce health inequality.