Health> Vol.5 No.6, June 2013

Direct medical cost of radiation therapy for cancer patients in Taiwan

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ABSTRACT

Background and purpose: The rising cost of health care is of concern worldwide, in particular, for cancer care. The costs of treatment, including chemotherapeutic drugs and radiotherapy, are no exceptions. The purpose of this study is to explore the direct medical cost of radiotherapy and the annual increasing trend of expenditures in Taiwan. Methods: This study utilized data retrieving from the original claim data of the reimbursement of the Health Insurance Research Database (HIRD) derived from Taiwan’s Health Insurance (HI) program. Detailed data on the direct medical cost within the radiotherapy process for beneficences were extracted from inpatient expenditures by admissions (DD) and ambulatory care expenditures by visits (CD) database according to the reimbursed expenditure code of radiotherapy from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2005. Prescriptions for radiotherapy were retrieved and the direct medical costs for radiotherapy were collected based on the NHI reimbursement price list of 2005. The annual increasing trend of expenditures was also explored according to the perspective of Bureau Health Insurance of Taiwan. Results: The total direct medical costs of radiotherapy for cancer patients were increasing from 2000 to 2005, which were estimated to US $7.80 million, US $8.09 million, US $7.58 million, US $10.7 million, US $12.2 million and US $15.9 million in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively. The increased percentage corresponded to the total healthcare expenditures claimed was increased substantially from 0.82% in 2000 to 1.22% in 2005. The total direct medical costs within the radiotherapy process were also increased gradually if identified by different types of radiotherapy and teaching hospital levels. The direct medical costs attribute to radiotherapy, compared to total health care expenditures in Taiwan, were similar to the costs of anticancer drugs for cancer patients annually. Conclusions: The direct medical costs of radiation therapy increased substantially each year. Further cost analysis on radiation therapy is needed in years beyond 2005.

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Cite this paper

Leung, H. and Chan, A. (2013) Direct medical cost of radiation therapy for cancer patients in Taiwan. Health, 5, 989-993. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.56131.

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