Employers struggle with cancer care
Many employers are at a loss when it comes to determining the best and most cost-effective treatment plans for their workers who are diagnosed with cancer. A recent report from the Northeast Business Group on Health said employers cited cancer as the most complex employee health condition they encounter, because of the dual challenge of supporting workers during a difficult time as well as paying for their treatment. Insurers were not much help. “My plans always respond with information about activities instead of outcomes,” one employer told NEBGH. Nationally, cancer treatment accounts for 12% of total medical costs for employers but only 1% of medical claims, according to the report. Employers spent $125 billion on cancer treatment in 2010 and incurred $139 billion in indirect costs related to employee productivity. Costs rise as new specialty drugs and treatments for cancer become available, the report noted. NEBGH recommends that employers offer workers who are diagnosed with cancer comprehensive educational resources that help them select the best treatment options at each stage of their disease.