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Case Study: Medicare Utilization and Cost Trends for CAR-T Cell Therapies Across Settings of Care in the Treatment of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Team members from our ADVI Health Strategic Analytics, Value and Economics (SAVEs) Solution team, Caitlin Sheetz, Peter Kardel, and David Liu collaborated with Kite Pharma to analyze and better understand Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy utilization patterns, healthcare costs, and patient outcomes specifically within the Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) system, hypothesizing that setting of care (inpatient vs. outpatient) significantly impacts these factors.


Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies have transformed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) treatment. It is important to better understand their use in Medicare FFS patients, who often differ from commercially insured populations in important ways.


We analyzed Medicare FFS claims data, focusing on the utilization patterns across three CAR-T products—lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel), tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel), and axicabtagene autoleucel (axi-cel)—which are indicated for the treatment of DLBCL. Our investigation covered the period from 2021 through 2022. This analysis spanned a 180-day period prior to CAR-T procedure and extended to a 90-day post-CAR-T. Utilization of healthcare services, healthcare spending, and comorbidities were assessed in the pre- and post-periods. Clinical trial and PPS-exempt center claims were removed from the analysis. Statistical comparisons between inpatient and outpatient cohorts were made using Wilcoxon’s rank-sum tests for continuous variables and Chi-square tests or Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables.


Among the total 391 CAR-T claims assessed, most of the CAR-T therapies were administered in the inpatient setting (79 percent) compared to outpatient (21 percent). CAR-T therapy in the inpatient setting received an average Medicare cost of US $498,723 ($276,138—$1,066,524), while the average Medicare cost for outpatient CAR-T claims was $414,393 ($276,980—$849,878). There was a higher 3-month average post-period cost for those hospitals utilizing CAR-T in the outpatient setting than the inpatient setting ($15,794 vs. $10,244). Despite the higher post-period cost, when looking at the CAR-T procedure and pre- and post-periods as a single episode, beneficiaries receiving outpatient CAR-T had less cost for the total episode of care ($587,908 vs. $529,188). Follow-up inpatient claims were also assessed post-CAR-T procedure for 30 days. The rate of post-CAR-T inpatient re-admission was significantly lower for beneficiaries receiving the index CAR-T in the inpatient setting (21 percent) compared to outpatient CAR-T (59 percent). Days between index CAR-T discharge and IP admission were also significantly shorter for OP CAR-T compared to IP CAR-T (8.0 vs. 14.1 days, p < 0.0001). Additionally, IP CAR-T had a longer ALOS on the admission claim (6.9 vs. 6.2 days).


CAR-T therapy for the treatment of LBCL has become more common within the Medicare population, primarily in the inpatient setting. This study helps understand providers’ costs and associated patient care around CAR-T administration. The data shows that the average cost received by hospitals encompasses the expenses related to both the CAR-T drug and the medical services delivered to patients.

Read the full manuscript