• Article

Cancer Treatment for Dual Eligibles


Haber, S., Tangka, F. K. L., Richardson, L. C., Sabatino, S. A., & Howard, D. (2013). Cancer Treatment for Dual Eligibles: What Are the Costs and Who Pays? American Journal of Cancer Science, 2(1), 88-100. [2013010007].


This study quantifies treatment costs for melanoma and breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer among patients with dual Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. The analyses use merged Medicare and Medicaid Analytic eXtract enrollment and claims data for dually eligible beneficiaries age>18 in Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, and Maine in 2003 (n=892,001). We applied ordinary least squares regression analysis to estimate annual expenditures attributable to each cancer after controlling for beneficiaries’ age, race/ethnicity, sex, and comorbid conditions, and state fixed effects. Cancers and comorbid conditions were identified on the basis of diagnosis codes on insurance claims. The most prevalent cancers were prostate (38.4 per 1,000 men) and breast (30.7 per 1,000 women). Dual eligibles with the study cancers had higher rates of other chronic conditions such as hypertension and arthritis than other beneficiaries. Total Medicare and Medicaid expenditures for dual eligibles with the study cancers ranged from $30,328 for those with lung cancer to $17,011 for those with breast cancer, compared with $10,664 for beneficiaries without the cancers. However, only 9% to 30% of medical expenditures for dual eligibles with the study cancers were attributable to the cancer itself. In 2003, combined Medicare/Medicaid spending for dual eligibles attributable to the six cancers in the four study states exceeded $256 million ($314 million in 2012 dollars). Dual eligibles with these cancers also had high rates of other medical conditions. These comorbidities should be recognized, both in documenting cancer treatment costs and in developing programs and policies that promote timely cancer diagnosis and treatment.