We describe national patterns of health insurance coverage and care accessibility and affordability in a national sample of adult childhood cancer survivors (CCS) compared to adults without cancer.
Using data from the 2010-2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we selected a sample of all CCS age 21 to 65 years old and a 1:3 matched sample of controls without a history of cancer. We examined insurance coverage, care accessibility and affordability in CCS and controls. We tested for differences in the groups in bivariate analyses and multivariable logistic regression models.
Of all respondents age 21-65 in the full NHIS sample, 443 (0.35 %) were CCS. Fewer CCS were insured (76.4 %) compared to controls (81.4 %, p = 0.067). Significantly more CCS reported delaying medical care (24.7 vs 13.0 %), needing but not getting medical care in the previous 12 months (20.0 vs 10.0 %), and having trouble paying medical bills (40.3 vs 19.7 %) compared to controls (p < 0.0001 for all). More CCS reported trouble with care affordability in the previous 12 months compared to controls on six categories of care and for a combined measure of affordability (p < 0.0001 for composite of all). Adjusted analyses demonstrated that these differences comparing CCS to controls remained significant.
CCS report problems with health care accessibility and affordability. These analyses support the development of policies to assure that CCS have access to affordable services.
IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS
Efforts to improve access to high-quality and affordable insurance for CCS may help reduce the gaps in getting medical care and problems with affordability. Health care providers should be aware that such problems exist and should discuss affordability and ability to obtain care with patients.