According to data presented by Willis Towers Watson, cancer represents one of the top three medical and disability expenses for most employers and is responsible for 15% of new disability claims and 9% of existing disability claims.
In addition, the flip side of brilliant advances in cancer treatment is the staggering treatment cost increase. Medical expenditure for cancer is expected to reach more than $239 billion by 2020.
This means big costs for employers and significant beyond-insurance costs for employees who will at some point be well enough to return to work.
Catalyst for Payment Reform (or CPR, an independent, nonprofit corporation on a mission to help employers and other health care purchasers get better value for their health care dollar) cite the following reasons why cancer is one of the primary drivers of increasing healthcare costs for employers:
With a rising incidence of cancer in the workforce, employers are faced with rising costs, lost productivity and low morale. Strategies to deal with this need to be multi-faceted:
Employer strategies for managing cancer must start with prevention. How?
What is your business strategy for handling costs and supporting employees diagnosed with cancer?
Exploring accountable care organization (ACO) strategies for better case management and value of care, reviewing services that provide palliative care while employees are on treatment for better management of symptoms and improved quality of life, and consider innovative pharmacy payment strategies to manage costs are all options available for supporting employees with a cancer diagnosis.
Are your managers and employees coached on how to integrate employees returning to work after cancer diagnosis?
In debt, emotionally changed because of what they’ve been through, and facing the stigma of their diagnosis through their colleagues’ eyes, employees returning to work after a cancer diagnosis will need support.
A ‘Cancer in the workplace’ report published in 2017 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, surveyed 500 employees to gain a view of current approaches. According to this survey, “When asked in which areas their company needs to improve its policies towards employees with cancer, survey respondents are most likely to point to training, so that managers are prepared for dealing with direct reports with serious illnesses. Furthermore, 33.8% say there is room for better information on their company’s guidelines and policies for serious illnesses.”