Cancer Patients Pay High Out Of Pocket Expenses

Jun 7, 2011

Patients are spending hundreds of dollars a month for out- of-pocket expenses while they're being treated for cancer - even if they're insured. 

The new study led by Duke researcher Yousuf Zafar queried more than 200 cancer patients - all but a handful were insured and most had prescription coverage. Zafar says he found patients were spending an average of $712 a month on out-of-pocket expenses. And Zafar says 30 percent of patients reported having a significant financial burden as a result of care.

Yousuf Zafar: "Over a quarter of patients didn't fill their prescriptions to save money. Patients asked their doctors for less expensive medications. Half of our patients reduced spending on basics like food and clothing and 70 percent of patients had to reduce spending on leisure activities like vacations or eating out. 18 percent of our patients had to sell possessions or property just pay for their cancer care…"

Zafar says patients having the most trouble paying were less satisfied with their cancer treatment overall.