Insurers look for new ways to control the cost of cancer care

Insurers across the country are looking for new ways to save costs when it comes to cancer treatment, according to an article in the New York Times.

The article states that under the current payment system, physicians and patients have no incentive to spare expense, and as a result usually favor the most aggressive, which is often the most expensive, care even if there is little to no evidence the patient will benefit. 

In an attempt to rein in costs, some insurers are experimenting with a new payment system, where oncologists receive a fee to follow standard treatments rather than opting for individualized and unproven courses of therapy, which frequently include the most expensive drugs.

Critics are worried that this type of payment model may lead to the rationing of care for cancer patients.

(Source: The New York Times,, October 19, 2010)