Study predicts cancer care costs to double by 2020
Article Thumbnail ImageSeptember 25, 2012 -- Cancer-related medical costs are expected to more than double in some U.S. states within eight years, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

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  • Cancer treatment costs are expected to increase for every state in the nation, ranging from a 34% increase in Washington, DC, at a projected cost of approximately $347 million, to a 115% increase in California, at a projected cost of $28.3 billion.

    The research was conducted by RTI International of Research Triangle Park, NC, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Am J Manag Care, September 2012, Vol. 18:9, pp. 525-532).

    Lead author Justin Trogdon, PhD, a health economist at RTI, and colleagues included anticipated demographic population shifts to make their projections. The authors used pooled Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data for 2004 to 2008 and U.S. Census Bureau population projections to produce state-level estimates of the number of people treated for cancer and the average cost of their treatment. Cost of treatment was determined by sex, by age group, and from a health system perspective.

    In the base model, the percentage of people in each of six age-by-sex categories who had been treated for cancer remained constant, and the inflation-adjusted average cancer treatment cost per person would increase at the same rate as Congressional Budget Office projections of overall medical spending, the authors explained. A 3.6% per annum rate increase was used to calculate the inflation-adjusted cost of cancer care per person.

    States with a higher forecasted increase in costs also have a higher forecasted increase in the number of residents older than age 65.

    State-level estimates of the number of residents needing cancer treatment between 2010 and 2020 varied significantly across states, ranging from a 7% decline in Washington, DC, to a 46% increase in Arizona. The states with the largest projected increases in the number of people treated for cancer were Florida, California, and Texas.


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