According to the Business Group on Health’s 2023 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, cancer will be the top driver of employer healthcare costs in 2023 [1]. While musculoskeletal disorders were the most costly disease for employers, cancer is now the leading driver of healthcare costs due to the identification of more late-stage cancers and more expensive treatment options available. A recent survey found that 83% of employers say that cancer is the leading condition driving up healthcare costs compared to 76% who said musculoskeletal conditions [2].

Until recently, cancer was not a top priority for benefits managers due to the complexity associated with the costs and quality of cancer care and the extensive range of services needed. However, with cancer-related costs growing at twice the rate of costs for other healthcare expenses, employers must rethink benefits and the provision of cancer screening services.

Here’s how LetsGetChecked can help employers invest strategically in their health and well-being offerings and control cancer care costs with at-home screenings.

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The cost of cancer

Although there has been a significant decline in cancer deaths in America since 1991 due to smoking-cessation efforts, earlier detection, and improved treatments, living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living healthier lives. The cost of treating cancer has been rising and shows no signs of slowing down. Cancer places a significant economic burden on the U.S. healthcare system, with costs projected to exceed $245 Billion by 2030 [3].

Cancer is among the top 3 spending categories for high-cost claimants for employers, and while it only accounts for 1% of claims volumes, it makes up 15% of overall employer healthcare spending [4]. With costly cancer treatments and challenges engaging employees in screening, accessible screening options like at-home testing can help employers address growing healthcare costs.

Cancer screening delay and deferment

Early detection of cancer or precancerous conditions enables early intervention to slow or prevent cancer development and lethality. Routine screenings are crucial to early detection and minimizing the need for longer, more costly cancer-related treatments. However, about 50% of cancers are at an advanced stage when diagnosed [5]. While pre-pandemic cancer screenings have rebounded, care gaps remain and are likely to lead to more late-stage diagnoses, increased mortality, and higher long-term costs.

Cancers like colon cancer may be asymptomatic until late in the disease process. That is why it is so important for employees to receive regular screening. Early cancer identification can help employees prevent or identify cancer early when it might be easier to treat and less costly. While many employers can face challenges getting their employees to participate in screenings, at-home cancer screening tests offer an easy and convenient alternative to in-person appointments that may require taking time off work and traveling.

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How cancer screenings can lower long-term healthcare costs

Many studies have supported the cost-effectiveness of population-based screenings, particularly for colon cancer, the second most costly cancer in the United States [6]. One study found the average annual Medicare cancer-related healthcare spending for individual patients with newly diagnosed colon cancer to be $80,000 in 2020 [7]. Increasing screening to 70% from current levels could reduce Medicare spending by $14 billion in 2050 [8].

The early identification of cancer can reduce the financial impact on employers, employees, and their families, given the shorter treatment courses, which can incur fewer expenses related to therapies. The national cost-savings in the United States from early diagnosis are estimated at $26 billion per year [9]. Offering a convenient and accessible screening program with LetsGetChecked can engage your workforce in the care they need to improve clinical outcomes and lower long-term healthcare costs.

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