Addressing Top Cost Conditions: Cancer

Learn how employers can lower cancer care costs through programs and initiatives.


February 18, 2021

According to the 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, 78% of surveyed employers count cancer among their top three health care cost trend drivers. This is no surprise given that the term “cancer” covers many unique, serious conditions (e.g., breast cancer, leukemia, melanoma). These conditions increasingly require personalized clinical interventions, such as rich clinical innovations in treatment and testing, including gene-based therapies.

Employers can consider the following strategies to improve the quality of care delivered to employees diagnosed with cancer (in various stages and types) and those looking to lower their risk of cancer. These approaches will not only lower costs but also increase the quality of care and outcomes:

  • 1 | Provide a second opinion to confirm the diagnosis, including staging and type, to help inform the most appropriate course of treatment.
  • 2 | Offer a cancer Center of Excellence (COE) program to direct employees with cancer to high-quality providers, particularly for rare, aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancers. Include travel and accommodation assistance if possible. Consider offering an incentive like an enhanced coinsurance deductible to encourage COE use.
  • 3 | When appropriate, provide coverage of personalized medicine, including genomics and immunotherapy.
  • 4 | Work with health plan partners to ensure (equitable) access to clinical trials, layering on a concierge service to provide support to employees and dependents enrolled in a trial.
  • 5 | Offer a cancer treatment support program, staffed with oncology nurses and doctors, to guide employees throughout their treatment and beyond.
  • 6 | Provide health and well-being programs that promote healthy behaviors proven to reduce the risk of cancer:
  • Keep employees on track with their preventive screenings by identifying high-risk employees and notifying them when they are due for a cancer screening. Also, consider offering an incentive to get cancer screenings and explore alternative screening options, including at-home tests where indicated, to improve screening compliance.
  • Establish tobacco-free workplace policies and provide evidence-based smoking cessation benefits and incentives for being a non-smoker.
  • Provide physical well-being programs to help employees stay active and eat a well-balanced diet.

To learn more about these strategies, view the playback video below from the Business Group’s virtual learning series on Addressing Top Cost Conditions, featuring and Delta Airlines Inc. and Anthem. Additionally, more extensive resources can be found to the right.

Duration 31 Minutes

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