Publication Abstract

Authors: Cipriano LE, Romanus D, Earle CC, Neville BA, Halpern EF, Gazelle GS, McMahon PM

Title: Lung cancer treatment costs, including patient responsibility, by disease stage and treatment modality, 1992 to 2003.

Journal: Value Health 14(1):41-52

Date: 2011 Jan

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: The objective of this analysis was to estimate costs for lung cancer care and evaluate trends in the share of treatment costs that are the responsibility of Medicare beneficiaries. METHODS: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data from 1991-2003 for 60,231 patients with lung cancer were used to estimate monthly and patient-liability costs for clinical phases of lung cancer (prediagnosis, staging, initial, continuing, and terminal), stratified by treatment, stage, and non-small- versus small-cell lung cancer. Lung cancer-attributable costs were estimated by subtracting each patient's own prediagnosis costs. Costs were estimated as the sum of Medicare reimbursements (payments from Medicare to the service provider), co-insurance reimbursements, and patient-liability costs (deductibles and "co-payments" that are the patient's responsibility). Costs and patient-liability costs were fit with regression models to compare trends by calendar year, adjusting for age at diagnosis. RESULTS: The monthly treatment costs for a 72-year-old patient, diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000, in the first 6 months ranged from $2687 (no active treatment) to $9360 (chemo-radiotherapy); costs varied by stage at diagnosis and histologic type. Patient liability represented up to 21.6% of care costs and increased over the period 1992-2003 for most stage and treatment categories, even when care costs decreased or remained unchanged. The greatest monthly patient liability was incurred by chemo-radiotherapy patients, which ranged from $1617 to $2004 per month across cancer stages. CONCLUSIONS: Costs for lung cancer care are substantial, and Medicare is paying a smaller proportion of the total cost over time.