Cost of cancer care leads to rise in health scheme prices

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Employers need to review their stance on cancer care and delivery, including consideration of developing bespoke treatment pathways, a study by consultancy Towers Watson has concluded.

Within five years, most insurers expect cancer to be the top medical condition driving claims costs, the Towers Watson Global Medical Trends survey has said.

As a result, many corporate healthcare schemes are beginning to increase their prices as the rising ­incidence of high-cost cancer claims – some now exceeding £100,000 – start to affect future scheme funding.

Kevin Newman, head of healthcare and risk consulting at Towers Watson, said: “In recent years, it has been proven that some conditions, such as musculoskeletal and psychological conditions, are best treated via a bespoke treatment pathway. Such an approach can mean that the correct clinical diagnosis is reached quicker and that the duration of treatment is reduced, resulting in a positive clinical outcome while also having a positive impact on the financial management of the plan.”

A separate study, meanwhile, has argued that the cost of providing health-related benefits for companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa increased by an average of 3.6% in 2012.

The survey by Mercer Marsh ­Benefits reported that costs rose at a similar rate (3.4%) to 2011.

More than three-quarters of firms polled provided private medical insurance to all of their employees and to their dependents. While coverage for employees was almost always subsidised, 26% required employees to pay the full cost of dependent coverage, it added.

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