Medical Care Costs of Breast Cancer in Privately Insured Women Aged 18–44 Years
INTRODUCTION: Breast cancer in women aged 18-44 years accounts for approximately 27,000 newly diagnosed cases and 3,000 deaths annually. When tumors are diagnosed, they are usually aggressive, resulting in expensive treatment costs. The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalent medical costs attributable to breast cancer treatment among privately insured younger women. METHODS: Data from the 2006 MarketScan database representing claims for privately insured younger women were used. Costs for younger breast cancer patients were compared with a matched sample of younger women without breast cancer, overall and for an active treatment subsample. Analyses were conducted in 2013 with medical care costs expressed in 2012 U.S. dollars. RESULTS: Younger women with breast cancer incurred an estimated $19,435 (SE=$415) in additional direct medical care costs per person per year compared with younger women without breast cancer. Outpatient expenditures comprised 94% of the total estimated costs ($18,344 [SE=$396]). Inpatient costs were $43 (SE=$10) higher and prescription drug costs were $1,048 (SE=$64) higher for younger women with breast cancer than in younger women without breast cancer. For women in active treatment, the burden was more than twice as high ($52,542 [SE=$977]). CONCLUSIONS: These estimates suggest that breast cancer is a costly illness to treat among younger, privately insured women. This underscores the potential financial vulnerability of women in this age group and the importance of health insurance during this time in life.