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Can flat-rate pricing help control cancer costs? | CBS News

So, what happens if the cost of treatment exceeds the bundled payment? The annual payment won’t increase if complications increase treatment costs. Eight bundles are available for patients, depending on what services they need, the insurer said.

“The bundled payments (there is a total of 8) cover all services and care provided by MD Anderson for treatment, including complications,” UnitedHealthcare said. “Each bundle has a fixed, specific price depending on the type of services and care included in a treatment regimen. For example, some patients may just need radiation and chemotherapy, while others may need those services plus surgery.”

Of course, hospital treatments alone aren’t responsible for the high price tag facing sufferers. Oncology drug costs have doubled to $10,000 per month in only a decade, during which time the consumer price index increased by only 23 percent, according to a new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released earlier this year.

American patients and their insurers shelled out $37.2 billion for oncology treatments in 2013, the study found. Prices in the U.S. are higher than in Europe, where medications can cost as much as 38 percent lower.

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Can flat-rate pricing help control cancer costs?

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