Introduction: Cancer represents the disease that, more than others, reduces people’s workability, causing a considerable number of disabled and incapacitated workers. The aim of this study was to estimate indirect costs, and in particular the disability insurance costs induced by patients with cancers, between 2009 and 2015 in Italy. Methods: The economic analysis was focused on two types of social security benefits: Disability Benefit (for workers with reduced workability), and Incapacity Pension (for workers without workability). Data were derived from the database of disability insurance awards of the Italian National Institute of Social Security (INPS). Considering the period between 2009 and 2015 (latest data available), the analysis estimated beneficiaries and related amount of costs for cancer patients. A probabilistic model with a Monte Carlo simulation was developed in order to estimate the total benefits provided and costs.
Results: An average of 142.000 beneficiaries of social security benefits affected by cancer per year was detected, representing 31% of all Italian beneficiaries for all diseases. The annual average expenditure was € 926,5 million for disability benefits, and € 409,2 million for incapacity pensions. So, disability insurance costs amount to € 1,3 billion every year in Italy; this expenditure has grown by 29% from 2009 to 2015.
Conclusion: The disability insurance costs caused by cancers have an important impact on the Italian Social Security System. Moreover, the related amount of costs grew up from 2009 to 2015, and probably it will continue to grow. Ensuring a more rapid access to innovative treatments could reduce these costs (accompanied by increase in QoL), through the reduction of people requesting a Social Security benefit to INPS.