Cancer Overtakes Musculoskeletal Diseases as Costliest Disease for Large Employers - MedCity News

A new study has found that cancer has overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the leading disease driving up health care costs for employers.

The survey conducted by Healthcare Business Group between May 31 and July 13 includes 135 large employers covering 18.3 million people in the US. Of the companies represented, 73% have more than 10,000 employees. The annual survey has been conducted since 2005.

The report found that this year, 83 percent of employers said cancer was the disease responsible for the most health care costs, while 76 percent cited musculoskeletal disorders. In 2021, 80% said cancer and 84% named musculoskeletal disorders when determining which disease was the most expensive in terms of health care costs. More worryingly, 13% of employers say they have seen more late-stage cancers among their employees, and 44% say they expect an increase in late-stage cancers in the future. This is likely because the pandemic has led to a delay in care, according to a news release.

“So for the first time in the history of this study, cancer has overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the largest driver of costs,” Brenna Schebel, vice president of the Business Group on Health, said during a press briefing Tuesday. “Musculoskeletal still incurs costs, but … this year it’s a pretty dramatic change.”

To address cancer-related costs, 50% of employers said they will provide access to cancer centers of excellence in 2023, and another 26% are considering providing access by 2025. center of excellence is a program within a healthcare institution with expertise and resources in a specific area of ​​medicine. They have a reputation for delivering good patient outcomes. Companies not only offer centers of excellence, but also encourage employees to take care of them through incentives such as travel reimbursement, Schebel said.

“The most common incentive or incentive is the reimbursement or payment of travel and lodging,” Schebel said. “So when an employee travels to a center of excellence, they have peace of mind they don’t have to pay for travel and accommodation.”

Among employers, 32% said they would cover genomic tests for cancer treatment in 2023, and 14% said they were considering doing so by 2025. Additionally, 11% said they would cover blood tests for early detection of many cancers in 2023, but the study did not specify the number of those considering it.

Other conditions driving up health insurance costs for employers this year are cardiovascular disease by 30%, diabetes by 28%, high-risk maternity/intensive care by 18%, mental health by 17%, Covid-19 by 10%, gastroenterology with 7%. , substance use disorders by 2% and HIV/AIDS by 1%.

Photo: CGToolbox, Getty Images

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