Analysis also finds dramatic shift away from inpatient medical care costs

-- Jeff Muise

Monday, May 10, 2010 (Last Updated: 05/11/2010)

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- The medical costs of cancer have nearly doubled since 1987 and have shifted substantially away from hospital inpatient care, and the portion paid for by private health insurers and Medicaid has increased, according to research published online May 10 in Cancer.

Florence K. Tangka, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data for 2001 to 2005 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and data from the 1987 National Medical Care Expenditure Survey to assess changes over time in cancer prevalence, medical costs, treatment settings, and distribution of cost burden.

The researchers found that the total medical cost of cancer (in 2007 U.S. dollars) increased from $24.7 billion in 1987 to $48.1 billion in 2001 to 2005. The different payers' share of costs also changed: private payers financed 42 percent in 1987 and 50 percent in 2001 to 2005; Medicare, 33 percent in 1987 and 34 percent in 2001 to 2005; out-of-pocket, 17 percent in 1987 and 8 percent in 2001 to 2005; Medicaid, 1 percent in 1987 and 3 percent in 2001 to 2005; and other public support, 7 percent in 1987 and 5 percent in 2001 to 2005. The share of costs from inpatient admissions fell from 64.4 percent in 1987 to 27.5 percent in 2001 to 2005.

"The information provided in this study enhances our understanding of the burden of cancer on specific payers and how this burden may change as a result of health care reform measures or other changes to health care financing and delivery. Further research will be needed to determine the impact of these and other changes on costs and quality of cancer care in the United States," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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