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.
Cite this paper
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