Background: While bundled payments aim to reduce variations in health care spending across the continuum of care, data reporting on variations in payments for privately insured patients undergoing treatment for colon cancer (CC) are lacking. The current study sought to characterize variations in payments received for the treatment of CC using a cohort of commercially insured patients.
Methods: Patients who underwent a colectomy for CC were identified using the MarketScan Database for 2010-2014. Multivariable regression analysis was used to calculate and compare risk-adjusted payments between patients.
Results: A total of 18,337 patients were identified who met inclusion criteria. The median risk-adjusted payment for surgery was $26,408 (IQR: $19,193-$38,037) ranging from $19,762 (IQR: $15,595-$25,636) among patients in the lowest quartile of payments to $33,809 (IQR: $24,783-$48,254) for patients in the highest (+△71.1%). The median risk-adjusted payment for chemotherapy was $70,090 (IQR: $57,813-$83,216); compared with patients in the lowest quartile of payments, payments associated with chemotherapy were 40.4% higher among patients in the highest quartile of payments (Q1 versus Q4: $56,827 [IQR: 49,173-65,353] versus $79,801 [IQR: 67,270-90,999]). When stratified by treatment type, patients in the highest two quartiles of risk-adjusted payments accounted for a total of 58.5% of all payments, whereas patients in the lower two quartiles of risk-adjusted payments accounted for only 41.5% of all payments. A younger patient age, increasing patient comorbidity and undergoing an open operation were associated with higher overall payments.
Conclusions: Wide variations in payments exist for the treatment for colon cancer. Episode-based bundle payments for surgery and chemotherapy may differentially impact reimbursement for CC.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Outcomes; Payments; Variation.
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