Report breaks down costs of cancer by insurance types

Patient costs for cancer care range from nearly $6,000 per year to more than $10,000 depending on where the patient receives health coverage, according to a new report.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released this week is Costs of Cancer report – its first-ever report looking at the cost of treating the most common cancers under three insurance types.

The report examined at total patient costs (premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance) for breast, lung and colorectal cancer for people with employer-sponsored health plans, Medicare and plans purchased from the individual exchange.

Treating stage 1 breast cancer costs a person with employee-sponsored insurance $5,819 ($1,844 in premiums, $500 deductible and $3,475 in co-pays and co-insurance).

The same diagnosis will cost a person with an individual plan $10,114 ($3,264 in premiums and $6,850 in co-pays and co-insurance).

Medicare coverage leaves patients with $8,793 in out-of-pocket costs, the majority of which is premiums.

The costs are similar for lung and colorectal cancer treatments, according to the study.

In 2014, cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion out-of-pocket for cancer treatments. Overall, about $87.8 billion was spent that year in the U.S. on cancer-related care.

The American Cancer Society estimates 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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