Cancer is costly.
That’s an unfortunate reality in America, but it’s one that health-care professionals are more readily recognizing. In a recent survey by the Association of Community Cancer Centers, 83 percent of providers cited rising drug costs as the greatest challenge in their cancer programs. While that number is staggering, it’s even more impactful when taken in context; last year, only 45 percent of providers named drug prices as the biggest obstacle.
While patients are increasingly struggling with rising drug prices, providers are also being hit with financial hardships stemming from skyrocketing costs. More than 65 percent of survey respondents reported that they’re not being adequately reimbursed by insurance companies for their support services — everything from patient navigation to providing financial resources for cancer patients.
Providers are responding to these trends in a few ways. About 64 percent of those surveyed advocated for insurance programs to be more transparent with their clients, so patients aren’t blindsided by unexpected costs. To that front, ACCs Financial Advocacy Network is working to heighten education about financial resources for cancer patients through such initiatives as its new Patient Assistance App.
The program puts the power into the hands of patients, letting them research their options to make more informed financial decisions. According to the survey, physicians are also taking a more hands-on role in that process: More than 75 percent of respondents actively inform their patients about drug-replacement programs, and over 60 percent supply financial advisors.
As the survey demonstrated, the cost of cancer care is an obstacle for patients’ financial and physical health, as well as the success of cancer programs. Financial resources for cancer patients — such as Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loans — can ease the burden of cancer and put patients back on the road to recovery.