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Insurance Coverage Disruptions May Reduce Rate of Cancer Screenings


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Investigators have found that U.S. adult patients with prior insurance coverage disruptions may be less likely to receive guideline-concordant and past-year cancer screenings compared with those with continuous coverage, according to new findings presented by Shi et al at the 2023 ASCO Quality Care Symposium (Abstract 116).

Study Methods and Results

Investigators used the 2010, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2021 National Health Interview Surveys to identify U.S. adult patients who were eligible for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and/or cervical cancer screenings. The patients were then categorized into five groups based on insurance type at the time of the survey and prior coverage disruptions—defined as a lack of coverage during the prior 12 months. The investigators further examined whether the patients who were eligible had undergone screenings ever, within the past year, and if the screenings were concordant with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines available at the time of each survey.

Compared with those who had continuous private health insurance coverage, the patients who had private health insurance coverage disruptions had guideline-concordant screening rates of 63.1% vs 80.5% for breast cancer, 47.1% vs 65.4% for colorectal cancer, and 73.1% vs 80.0% for cervical cancer. The patients without health insurance coverage had the lowest screening levels.

Patients with continuous private or public insurance coverage had higher rates of past-year screenings across all three cancer types compared with those who had prior insurance coverage disruptions. For instance, among those eligible for breast cancer screenings, past-year screening rates for patients who had private coverage with and without prior disruptions were 62.2% and 44.1%, respectively. Similarly, among patients with public coverage, 51.4% of those with continuous coverage received breast cancer screenings in the past year vs 36.9% of those with prior coverage disruptions.

Conclusions

The investigators emphasized that their new findings underscored the importance of stable health insurance coverage as part of a comprehensive approach to improve cancer screening and early detection rates.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit meetings.asco.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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