Mesothelioma, Medicine, and Money: How Does Inflation Influence Health Care Costs?

An elderly couple reading health care information

Just as concerns around the coronavirus pandemic seemed to simmer, Americans began to experience a new challenge affecting their daily lives: consumer inflation.

According to an October 2022 report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer inflation rates have increased by 8.2% so far this year. That means the cost of living, from groceries to housing and utilities, has become noticeably higher. In fact, the Nasdaq Stock Market reports that this year’s high inflation rates are record-breaking.

However, various studies have shown that inflation rates have not yet directly impacted the cost of cancer care, including the cost of treating mesothelioma.

Inflation and Health Care

Despite these record-high rates, one industry has not increased its prices in response to this year’s inflation: health care. In a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, researchers discovered that while overall inflation rates increased by more than 8% in 2022, the price of health care services and treatments only increased by 4.8%.

“Typically, medical inflation outpaces inflation in the rest of the economy. But in 2022, medical prices are growing at a similar rate as in past years, while prices in some other parts of the economy are growing much more rapidly than in the past.”
—Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2022

Although those who need frequent medical attention have not yet noticed a drastic increase in the cost of health insurance, doctors’ visits, hospital stays, and prescription medication, economists predict that expenses associated with the U.S. health sector will increase in 2023.

The Cost of Treating Cancer

In a study published in 2020, the Cancer Action Network announced that cancer patients in the U.S. paid nearly $6 billion out of pocket for cancer treatments.

The same study also predicts that the total cost of cancer care — which includes out-of-pocket expenses, costs covered by medical insurance carriers, employer insurance coverage plans, and public programs like Medicaid and Medicare — will be $246 billion by 2030.

Another recent study examining medical expenses found that cancer patients under the age of 65 pay about $9,000 more each year for health care treatments than noncancer patients.

To provide some context for these high costs, 40% of adults in the U.S. could not afford to pay an unexpected $400 medical bill — let alone $9,000 — without having to borrow money or sell their belongings.

The study also noted that 61% of U.S. households could not afford to pay an unexpected $1,000 bill without taking money out of their savings account.

When placed on cancer patients, these financial burdens can undoubtedly influence their decisions regarding medical care. In some cases, the steep cost of health care could ultimately result in patients losing their battle with mesothelioma and other cancers because they cannot afford critical treatment.

It’s especially heartbreaking to think about medical expenses keeping cancer patients from seeking life-saving treatment, especially since the cost of health care has not yet risen in response to inflation this year. Cancer care is already tremendously expensive, and it’s expected to become even more costly in 2023.

Mesothelioma Treatment Expenses

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is not exempt from the high costs of cancer care. Even with medical insurance, mesothelioma treatments are expensive.

In fact, the total cost of mesothelioma treatments can top $500,000 per patient.

From travel expenses to meet with mesothelioma doctors to paying for office visits or surgical procedures, the financial challenges that mesothelioma patients experience can be difficult and stressful.

Fortunately, many mesothelioma patients qualify to file lawsuits against the companies that manufactured the asbestos-containing products that made them sick. In these instances, a mesothelioma lawyer can help build a case against these manufacturers and help patients receive the financial compensation they need — and deserve.

Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma Costs

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation that can help offset some of the costs of quality cancer care.

It’s helpful to find a mesothelioma lawyer who works on a contingency basis since these attorneys only get paid if their client receives money from a mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claims.

Contact us or call us at (866) 608-8933 today for a free consultation.

Get Your Free 2022 Mesothelioma Guide

  • Top treatments & doctors
  • Financial assistance
  • Accessing VA benefits
Get Your Free Guide Now
Mesothelioma Guide Images

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of passionate health advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. Our team works tirelessly to give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma. Learn more about operating principles and our Editorial Guidelines.

5 References
  1. Cancer Action Network. “The Costs of Cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.fightcancer.org/sites/default/files/National%20Documents/Costs-of-Cancer-2020-10222020.pdf. Accessed on October 26, 2022.

  2. Health System Tracker. “Overall inflation has not yet flowed through to the health sector.” Retrieved from: https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/overall-inflation-has-not-yet-flowed-through-to-the-health-sector/. Accessed on October 26, 2022.

  3. JAMA Network. “Out-of-Pocket Costs Among Patients With a New Cancer Diagnosis Enrolled in High-Deductible Health Plans vs Traditional Insurance.” Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2787362. Accessed on October 26, 2022.

  4. Nasdaq, Inc. “In a Rare Twist, Healthcare Costs Lag Behind Inflation – But How Long Will it Last?” Retrieved from: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/in-a-rare-twist-healthcare-costs-lag-behind-inflation-but-how-long-will-it-last. Accessed on October 26, 2022.

  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Price Index Summary.” Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm. Accessed on October 26, 2022.