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Impact of Prior Insurance Coverage Disruptions on Health-Care Access and Affordability for Currently Insured Cancer Survivors


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A new study from the American Cancer Society has found health insurance coverage disruptions in the prior year led to issues with health-care access and affordability for currently insured cancer survivors. The study was published by Zhao et al in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Study Methods

Little is known about the effects of health insurance coverage disruptions on access to health care among cancer survivors. To learn more, investigators estimated the prevalence of health insurance coverage disruptions and evaluated their associations with access to health care and affordability among cancer survivors aged 18 to 64 in the United States using national data from years 2011 to 2018. Health insurance coverage disruption was measured by self-reports of any time in the prior year without coverage.

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Findings

The team found that approximately 260,000 currently insured cancer survivors aged 18 to 64 had coverage disruptions in 2018. Among privately and publicly insured survivors, those with coverage disruptions were less likely to report all preventive services use, including blood pressure check, blood cholesterol check, flu shot, and dental care, compared to those continuously insured (16.9% vs 36.2%; 14.6% vs 25.3%, respectively). Currently insured survivors with private or public coverage were also more likely to report any problems with care affordability (55.0% vs 17.7%; 71.1% vs 38.4%, respectively) and any cost-related medication nonadherence (39.4% vs 10.1%; 36.5% vs 16.3%, respectively), such as skipping, taking less, and delaying medication to save money, compared to those patients who were continuously insured (all P < .05).

“Our findings in this study are especially relevant because widespread unemployment and potential loss of employer-based private health insurance coverage due to the COVID[-19] pandemic can also result in coverage disruptions. More cancer survivors may experience coverage disruptions, which may adversely affect their access to care and affordability,” added the researchers.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit cebp.aacrjournals.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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