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New ACS CAN report examines expected patient out-of-pocket costs for common cancer diagnoses

Cancer has a tremendous financial impact on patients and survivors, and their families, according a new American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) report.

The Costs of Cancer, Addressing Patient Costs is the first ACS CAN report to examine the costs of treating cancer, and specifically the out-of-pocket portion patients face. Using three hypothetical patient profiles, the report looks at costs for three of the most common cancers—breast, lung, and colorectal under three types of insurance—employer-sponsored, Medicare, and an individual exchange plan.

The report was released this morning at the organization's sixth annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care in Washington, D.C. The day-long forum is an opportunity for leaders in business, advocacy, academia, and public policy to come together to talk about changes in the health insurance market, and what cancer patients need from a health care system.

Key report findings include:

  • U.S. cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2014, and the disease cost the country $87.8 billion in cancer-related health care spending.
  • A lower-premium insurance plan may not actually save cancer patients money in the long run. These types of plans often have high cost-sharing and cancer patients are high utilizers of care.
  • Even with insurance, cancer patients often face unpredictable or unmanageable costs including high co-insurance, high deductibles, having to seek out-of-network care, and needing a treatment that is not covered by their health plan.

The report also provides public policy recommendations for making cancer treatments more affordable for patients and survivors.

The full Cost of Cancer report is available at acscan.org

Access to quality health insurance is essential to making cancer care affordable for patients and survivors. ACS CAN is working to ensure people affected by cancer maintain access to uninterrupted insurance coverage, and those who are currently uninsured gain access to coverage that includes recommended cancer prevention and treatment. 

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