Uninsured cancer patients receive less care

April 09, 2003

Uninsured cancer patients incurred health care costs that were little more than half of the costs of treating privately insured patients over a six-month period, and were admitted to hospitals and seen by physicians less frequently, according to a new study published today as a Health Affairs Web exclusive.

In a Commonwealth Fund-supported analysis of federal health spending data, Emory University scholars Kenneth E. Thorpe and David Howard estimated that 200,000 of the four million cancer patients undergoing treatment each year had no health insurance coverage.

While uninsured cancer patients receive far less health care than their insured counterparts do, the authors find that their out-of-pocket spending is nearly two and a half times that of privately insured patients.

In addition, the authors identify a disparity in health care coverage between Hispanics and cancer patients from all other ethnic groups. Twenty percent of Hispanic cancer patients under age sixty-five lacked health insurance coverage, while 10 percent of whites and 14 percent of blacks in the same age group lacked coverage.

Having health insurance coverage appeared to be the key to better treatment, however, as the authors identified no differences in health spending by race or ethnicity among those with coverage. But they documented a stark difference in spending between those with coverage and those without. Among their findings:The authors say that Congress made some effort toward addressing the differences in treatment when it passed a law allowing states to extend Medicaid coverage to some women with breast or cervical cancer. "However, although it is an important first step, breast and cervical cancer account for only 15 percent of newly diagnosed patients with cancer. Extending health insurance to the remaining cancer patients without health insurance could result in earlier treatment and improved survival."
Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is a bimonthly multidisciplinary journal devoted to publishing the leading edge in health policy thought and research.

Health Affairs

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.