Cancer Costs Nearly Double in 18 Years

ATLANTA, May 10 (UPI) — The cost of treating cancer has nearly doubled in the past 18 years from more than $24 billion to some $48 billion, U.S. researchers found.

Study leader Florence Tangka of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues at Emory University and RTI International analyzed data from the 2001 to 2005 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey and its predecessor the National Medical Care Expenditure Survey.

The study, published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer, found 42 percent of the total medical cost of cancer in the United States in 1987 — $24.7 billion (in 2007 dollars) was paid for private insurance, 33 percent by Medicare and 1 percent by Medicaid.

Out-of-pocket payments paid for 17 percent of the costs and other public sources paid for 7 percent.

During 2001-2005, private insurance paid for 50 percent of the costs of cancer care of $48.1 billion, 34 percent was paid for by Medicare and Medicaid paid 3 percent. Out-of-pocket payments accounted for 8 percent of the costs and other public sources paid for 5 percent.

Inpatient hospital admissions fell from 64.4 percent in 1987 to 27.5 percent in 2001-2005, but during the same period outpatient expenditures rose, the study said.

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