Uninsured Patients Incur Higher Costs of Cancer Care

Share this content:
Uninsured patients may be charged anywhere from two to 43 times what private insurance plans or Medicare pay for chemotherapy medications.
Uninsured patients may be charged anywhere from two to 43 times what private insurance plans or Medicare pay for chemotherapy medications.

Uninsured patients may be charged anywhere from two to 43 times what private insurance plans or Medicare pay for chemotherapy medications, a new study estimates. Researchers said the findings, reported in Health Affairs, highlight a fundamental inequity.

Stacie Dusetzina, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health, and colleagues used the new Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data Public Use File and other sources to analyze what doctors charged for chemotherapy drugs in 2012.

The authors compared the charges with what Medicare and large private insurers actually paid for those drugs.

On average, the researchers found, Medicare paid only 40 percent of what doctors charged for chemo, while private insurers paid 56 percent.

People without insurance, however, could face whatever the doctor's office billed them. And those prices would likely stretch far beyond what most could pay, according to the researchers.

For example, the typical charge for the chemo drug oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) was more than $6,700 for one infusion, the researchers found.

RELATED: Cancer Care Worse with Medicaid, No Insurance

Medicare actually paid around $3,000, while private insurers paid $3,600, on average. Even office visits were pricey for uninsured cancer patients.

They faced charges ranging from $129 to $391. Medicare, meanwhile, paid $65 to $188, and private insurers paid $78 to $246 for the same services.

Reference

  1. Dusetzina, Stacie B., et al. "For Uninsured Cancer Patients, Outpatient Charges Can Be Costly, Putting Treatments Out Of Reach." Health Affairs. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0801. April 2015.

Related Resources

You must be a registered member of Cancer Therapy Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters



Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Prostate Cancer Regimens Drugs
Rare Cancers Regimens
Renal Cell Carcinoma Regimens Drugs
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs
Urologic Cancers Regimens Drugs