Stories

Cancer costs wallop employers

Cancer is the main source of catastrophically high medical claims for companies and their employees, according to new data from stop-loss insurer Sun Life.

Why it matters: Self-funded employers, or those that directly pay for their workers’ medical claims, usually buy "stop-loss" coverage to insure themselves from unpredictably costly diagnoses. And cancer has been the highest-cost condition for stop-loss claims every year since 2013.

By the numbers: Cancer represented almost 27% of the $936.3 million in reimbursements that Sun Life paid out to employers between 2015 and 2018.

  • Breast cancer was by far the biggest chunk of that total, representing one-third of costs but only 13% of the total claims.
  • Multiple myeloma and brain cancer were right behind, each costing $111 million.

The next-most expensive condition after cancer? Chronic kidney disease.