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Insurers Test New Cancer Pay Systems

October 20, 2010 -- Several large health insurers, including UnitedHealthcare and Aetna, are focusing on one of the country’s most costly diseases: cancer.

The insurers have begun tightening oversight of the care provided to patients with many different types of cancer, hoping to lower expenses by experimenting with new ways to pay specialists.

UnitedHealthcare plans to announce on Wednesday a one-year project with five oncology practices, offering doctors an additional fee. The new fee is meant to encourage doctors to follow standard treatments rather than opting too often for individualized and unproven courses of therapy, which can include the most expensive drug combinations. By proposing a different type of payment structure, companies hope to lower doctors’ dependence on a system that generates substantial sums for cancer specialists who routinely favor top-of-the line treatments.

Read the full article available on the New York Times Web site.

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