Variation in Insurance Status by Patient Demographics and Tumor Site Among Nonelderly Adult Patients With Cancer

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In the United States, an estimated 48 million individuals live without health insurance. The purpose of the current study was to explore the Variation in insurance status by patient demographics and tumor site among nonelderly adult patients with cancer.

METHODS:

A total of 688,794 patients aged 18 to 64 years who were diagnosed with one of the top 25 incident cancers (representing 95% of all cancer diagnoses) between 2007 and 2010 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database were analyzed. Patient characteristics included age, race, sex, marital status, and rural or urban residence. County-level demographics included percent poverty level. Insurance status was defined as having non-Medicaid insurance, Medicaid coverage, or no insurance.

RESULTS:

On multivariate logistic regression analyses, younger age, male sex, nonwhite race, being unmarried, residence in counties with higher levels of poverty, and rural residence were associated with being uninsured versus having non-Medicaid insurance (all P <.001). The highest rates of non-Medicaid insurance were noted among patients with prostate cancer (92.3%), melanoma of the skin (92.5%), and thyroid cancer (89.5%), whereas the lowest rates of non-Medicaid insurance were observed among patients with cervical cancer (64.2%), liver cancer (67.9%), and stomach cancer (70.9%) (P <.001). Among uninsured individuals, the most prevalent cancers were lung cancer (14.9%), colorectal cancer (12.1%), and breast cancer (10.2%) (P <.001). Lung cancer caused the majority of cancer mortality in all insurance groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

In the United States, an estimated 48 million individuals live without health insurance. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data set was used to demonstrate variability in insurance status by patient demographics and type of cancer diagnosis.

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