Out-of-Pocket Health-Care Expenditures among Older Americans with Cancer

Objective:? There is currently limited information regarding the out-of-pocket expenditures (OOPE) for medical care made by elderly individuals with cancer. We sought to quantify OOPE for community-dwelling individuals age 70 or older with: 1) no cancer (No CA), 2) a history of cancer, not undergoing current treatment (CA/No Tx), and 3) a history of cancer, undergoing current treatment (CA/Tx). Methods:? We used data from the 1995 Asset and Health Dynamics Study, a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling elderly individuals. Respondents identified their cancer status and reported OOPE for the prior 2 years for: 1) hospital and nursing home stays, 2) outpatient services, 3) home care, and 4) prescription medications. Using a multivariable two-part regression model to control for differences in sociodemographics, living situation, functional limitations, comorbid chronic conditions, and insurance coverage, the additional cancer-related OOPE were estimated. Results:? Of the 6370 respondents, 5382 (84%) reported No CA, 812 (13%) reported CA/No Tx, and 176 (3%) reported CA/Tx. The adjusted mean annual OOPE for the No CA, CA/No Tx, and CA/Tx groups were $1210, $1450, and $1880, respectively (P < .01). Prescription medications ($1120 per year) and home care services ($250) accounted for most of the additional OOPE associated with cancer treatment. Low-income individuals undergoing cancer treatment spent about 27% of their yearly income on OOPE compared to only 5% of yearly income for high-income individuals with no cancer history (P < .01). Conclusions:? Cancer treatment in older individuals results in significant OOPE, mainly for prescription medications and home care services. Economic evaluations and public policies aimed at cancer prevention and treatment should take note of the significant OOPE made by older Americans with cancer.