Insurance Coverage Differs by Demographics, Cancer Type

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Patient demographics and cancer type are major contributing factors for the variation in rates of insurance coverage, according to an article published online in the journal Cancer.

Participants of this study included 688,794 patients between the ages of 18 to 64 years with a diagnosis of one of the top 25 incident cancers between 2007 and 2010 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

The patients were analyzed based on characteristics, such as age, race, sex, marital status, residency, and county-level demographics (e.g., percent poverty level). The individual’s insurance status was determined to be non-Medicaid insurance, Medicaid coverage, or no insurance.

Results showed nonwhite, younger age males, unmarried, residence in counties with higher levels of poverty, and rural residence were associated with being uninsured versus having non-Medicaid insurance (all P<0.001). 

Patients with prostate cancer, melanoma, and thyroid cancer had the highest non-Medicaid insurance rates (92.3%, 92.5%, and 89.5%, respectively), while patients with cervical, liver, and stomach cancer had the lowest rates of non-Medicaid insurance (64.2%, 67.9%, 70.9%, respectively;P<0.001).

The majority of uninsured patients reported cases of lung cancer (14.9%), colorectal cancer (12.1%), and breast cancer (10.2%) (all P<0.001).

Lung cancer was found to cause the majority of cancer mortality across all insurance categories.

Prostate specific antigen screening in some cases led to overdetection of prostate cancer.
Patient demographics and cancer type are major contributing factors for the variation in rates of insurance coverage.
Rates of insurance coverage vary greatly by demographics and by cancer type. The expansion of health insurance coverage would be expected to disproportionally benefit certain demographic populations and cancer types.
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