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36. Who Pays the Bills?

The government's Medicare and Medicaid programs, together, pay about 36% of the $70 billion dollars in medical treatment costs for cancer patients each year. The same percentage is paid by private sector providers of health insurance.

Medical treatment for cancer costs $70 billion per year. 36% is paid by medicare/medicaid, 36% is paid by private sector insurance, 8% is paid by other public sector funds, and 8% is paid by you. 40% of annual payments made by medicare under the drug benefit pay for cancer drugs.

Uninsured. Of Americans who are diagnosed each year... 1 in 10 have no health insurance and do not qualify (in most cases because they are too young) for Medicare.

Larger Patient Co-Pay for Latest Anti-Cancer Drugs.
Many of the most expensive drugs (including some that combat cancer) have been placed in a new "Tier 4" under the Medicare drug benefit program. For these drugs patient co-pay is based on a percentage (at least 20%) of the cost of filling a prescription. The traditional system had patients paying a fixed amount – say $10 per drug – regardless of the drug’s cost. (NYT 4/14/08)