Cancer treatment and care can be pricey; it can have a negative impact on your health, emotions, time, relationships, and finances. Unfortunately, it is reported that cancer will take the lives of 600,000 Americans by 2020. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS CAN), over 1.7 million new instances of cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, with more than 16.9 million Americans having a history of cancer.
There may be instances when unexpected costs arise that your health insurance might not completely cover. Cancer patients in the United States paid $5.6 billion in out-of-pocket costs for treatment in 2018. You might also feel as though you lack the stamina to cope with cancer while simultaneously discussing finances.
But you do not need to worry. There are ways to bring down the cost of cancer treatment and save you from debt. Here are the expenses you should expect and some ideas for cutting the costs.
1. Buy a Cancer-Specific Insurance Policy
It is critical to have health insurance. In reality, health insurance is meant to protect policyholders from financial hardship in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll have to pay for all your medical bills out of your own pocket.
The hospital bill might force you to declare bankruptcy due to the high medical expenditures of cancer treatment. Nonetheless, if you have cancer-specific insurance coverage, your insurance company will pay you a lump sum benefit upon a cancer diagnosis.
2. Improved National Guidelines
Current national cancer recommendations frequently include a list of all feasible or approved treatment options for a specific malignancy. But it typically does not provide any sort of comparative analysis to allow patients and clinicians to pick the most cost-effective or optimal option based on risks and benefits.
National evidence-based recommendations that critically analyze quality-of-life and mortality statistics assess benefits in light of hazards as well as cost. Moreover, it also gives clarity on the most cost-effective choice.
This method will emphasize a suggested therapy’s economic utility, allowing patients and clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions. Patient advocacy group partnerships benefit both pharmaceutical companies and patients.
3. Create “Monopoly” Rules
Value-based pricing for all pharmaceuticals may not be essential in the United States since market forces are emphasized to manage costs; price restrictions are only required in “monopoly” circumstances.
We think that when two (or more) comparable medicines of the same class are available to treat the same malignancy, and both are regarded equal by the medical community, market forces can be adequate to keep pricing in check.
However, when a new medicine is approved, it must be determined if the drug will operate in a monopolistic setting. In this circumstance, we present two possible options. To begin, medicines judged to be in this niche must be subjected to price restrictions or increased competition.
In addition, approving multiple medicines for the same indication based on equivalence and the same strength of evidence without requiring superiority in safety or effectiveness over the earlier authorized drug is an essential option for decreasing monopolistic situations.
4. Importance of Screening
Cancer therapy is not only effective, but it is also less expensive if diagnosed early. As some types of cancer can remain undetected for 10 years or more, doctors suggest a cancer screening test that helps detect cancer even before symptoms appear. Malignancies of the cervix, breast, colon, lung, prostate, ovary, and other common cancers can be identified by regular screening. Because of screening programs, there has been a significant increase in survival.
Patients usually see a doctor or an oncologist once their cancer has progressed, making treatment more expensive and survival less probable. As a consequence of technical advancements, genetic screening has made it feasible to access more effective tailored medicines.
Patient advocacy groups (PAGs) have existed since the 1950s and have served a variety of functions. While the pharmaceutical industry applies its immense medical knowledge, experience, and resources to better patient outcomes, PAGs offer support services to their caregivers and patients.
In the United States, the expense of cancer treatment is increasing at an unsustainable rate. Cancer expenses account for around 5% of all healthcare spending in the United States. And this percentage is expected to rise as cancer patients survive longer with their condition, which in turn demands a larger part of the U.S. healthcare budget.
Restricting access and lowering fees will simply increase the expense of cancer treatment. Instead, it is recommended that clinical pathways be used to standardize care and that effective disease management strategies be implemented to promote health and avoid symptom escalation.