Cost of skin cancer treatments on the rise

Nov 11, 2014 | Health Insurance Billing

To address the wide-spread issue of medical debt in the country, specific treatment costs need to be addressed.  When the cost of treatments for certain diseases or afflictions that affect millions of Americans is too high, all insurance subscribers can see their premiums rise. 

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, explored the costs of skin cancer treatments. Skin cancer affects nearly five million Americans every year, and that number shows no real sign of slowing. Unfortunately, the study also found that the cost of treating this type of cancer is rapidly inflating. 

Between 2002 and 2006, approximately 3.4 million adults in the U.S. were treated for melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer. That number grew to 4.9 million between 2007 to 2011. Researchers found that between 2002 and 2011, the average annual cost for skin cancer treatments has increased by 126 percent, from $3.6 billion to $8.1 billion.

This far outstrips the 25 percent increase in annual costs for all other types of cancer. 

"The findings raise the alarm that not only is skin cancer a growing problem in the United States, but the costs for treating it are skyrocketing relative to other cancers,"  lead author Gery Guy, PhD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, wrote in a release accompanying the study. 

With wages remaining stagnant,  and in increasing number of employers offering high-deductible plans, this can cause significant problems for health insurance claims management professionals.

Fortunately, care facilities can combat the issues caused by bad debt by making the decision to outsource receivables management. This results in a more manageable claims load for in-house staff as well as in improved patient-provider relationship.