Coverage, financial burden, and the patient protection and affordable care act for patients with cancer

Joel E. Segel, Jeah Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Evidence suggests coverage has improved significantly for patients with cancer, particularly in the lower-income population, after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet no study has examined changes in type of coverage or the resulting effect on spending and financial burden. METHODS Using 2011 to 2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data, we examine changes in type of coverage, spending, and financial burden among lower-income (, 400% of federal poverty level [FPL]) individuals diagnosed with cancer after the ACA. To better understand the changes, we compare this sample to the lower-income patients without cancer and patients with cancer with a higher income ($ 400% of FPL). All analyses were conducted in 2018. RESULTS In adjusted analyses, we found a decline in months uninsured (20.78 months; P = .001) and an increase in months with Medicaid coverage (0.40 months; P = .059) among the lower-income patients with cancer. This change is similar to the lower-income patients without cancer. We found an increase in total expenditures ($3,020; P = .071) but a modest decline in the fraction of family income spent on health (20.014; P 5 0.099), although neither is statistically significant. For the higher income patients with cancer, we observed significant increases in both out-of-pocket premiums and medical financial burden. CONCLUSION After the ACA, lower-income people diagnosed with cancer experienced significant gains in coverage largely through Medicaid at rates similar to lower-income patients without cancer, but patients with cancer with incomes 400% or greater of FPL faced a higher financial burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1035-e1049
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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