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December 15, 2018

The Cost of Cancer

insurance claims public record


According to the American Cancer Society, a total of 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the U.S. in 2019.


According to the National Health Expenditures 2017 Highlights performed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. health care spending increased 3.9 percent to reach $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 per person in 2017.

The American Cancer Society released The Costs of Cancer, a study addressing the patient costs of cancer. In this study, we see three case studies on the cost of cancer for three cancer patients who have different insurance.

Patient Type of Cancer Insurance Total Expense
Mary Breast Employee sponsored $144,193
Tom Colorectal Medicare $124,425
Kathy Lung Individual Market $210,067

These are expenses many cancer patients face today. Fortunately, these patients had insurance, so their out-of-pocket expenses were significantly less than the overall price. However, Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted a Money Pulse survey and found 37% of Americans don’t have enough in savings to cover a $500 emergency. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the out-of-pocket limit for an individual healthcare plan in 2018 was $7,350 and $14,700 for a family plan.

Putting the total cost of cancer aside, the out-of-pocket expenses can be enough to cause financial ruin amongst many American families.

Cancer insurance can help offset some of these costly expenses.



Radiation, surgery, chemo-therapy – in many cases, cancer costs are front-loaded. The Cost of Cancer reports patients experience the highest out-of-pocket costs in the first two to three months of a diagnosis. Cancer insurance can help cover some of these costs such as:

  • Copays
  • Extended hospital stays
  • Extended hospital stays
  • Lab tests
  • Treatments


Upon a cancer diagnosis, many patients may not think about the indirect cost of their diagnosis. These are other expenses that are just as significant and problematic for cancer patients and their families such as:

  • Help off-set lost income due to inability to work
  • Lodging near treatment
  • Child care during treatment
  • Legal services
  • Caregiving costs
  • Transportation to appointments
  • Wigs and other cosmetic items to address side effects


Most cancer insurance plans offer a lump-sum benefit, or an amount of cash given directly to the policyholder to spend as he or she sees fit. This money can go toward anything, treatment costs, indirect costs, or even a family vacation should they want to.

The cost of cancer treatment is staggering, and it seems to only be increasing. Because so many Americans are diagnosed daily with cancer, this can cause devastating changes to a family. Without insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses would be unaffordable for many Americans. It’s imperative for those who cannot afford a cancer diagnosis to consider the benefits of cancer insurance.

Categories: Cancer Insurance

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