Insurance Coverage Linked to Cancer Survival Time

Insurance Coverage Linked to Cancer Survival Time

Two independent studies that looked at two different cancers came to similar stunning conclusions. Individuals with private insurance were found to be diagnosed sooner&live longer as well than those who had Medicaid coverage or those without insurance altogether.

For one study, information was examined from 13,600+ adults diagnosed between 2007 – 2012 as havingglioblastomamultiforme, the single most common kind of malignant brain cancer.

In the other study, researchers reviewed information from 2007 – 2011 where they examined testicular cancer cases of 10,200+ male adults.

The studies relied on information from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program (Surveillance, Epidemiology, End Results), which tracks cancer cases (incidence & survival) in the United States. Both studies results were released online in the journal Cancer.

Known as a highly aggressive cancer, individuals diagnosed as havingGlioblastomamultiformetypically live a little more than a year past the diagnosis. The five-year rate of survival is less than 5%. On the other hand, testicular cancer reacts well with chemotherapy treatment even if it has actually spread throughout the body. Individuals that get treatment are found to have a 95% survival rate at the 5-year mark.

Again, this is an important point: Patients that had private insurance were found to have better survival rates.

  • For testicular cancer:
    • Uninsured individualshad a 26% increased chance of being found with metastasized cancer and Medicaid patients were 62% more likely to have a metastasized cancer. (Important: the research study clarified that in many states people can get approved for Medicaid once they have a cancer diagnosis thus increasing the percentage of those with Medicaid who were found with the cancer.)
    • Uninsured men had an 88%+likelihood of passing away from the cancer while Medicaid patients were 51% more likely to die from the illness.
  • For glioblastomamultiforme:
    • Both uninsured and Medicaid patients were found to have bigger growths when diagnosed than those with private insurance.
    • Uninsured patients had a 14%+ chance of having a much shorter survival time. Patients on Medicaid saw a 10% increase in the chance of shorter survival times.

Per Dr. Wuyang Yang who is a research study fellow at Johns Hopkins University co-authored the research study, ” We were expecting that the uninsured would do even worse than insured clients, but we didn’t anticipate that Medicaid clients would do significantly worse than [privately insured] patients,” (For more details visit Kaiser Health News http://khn.org/news/studies-link-cancer-patients-survival-time-to-insurance-status/)

We have three recommendations based on these findings:

  • Talk with your insurance agent about life insurance to make certain your loved ones are protected in case the worst happens to you.
  • Be sure you consult with your health care insurance specialist to make certain you have adequate coverage.
  • Always leverage your available health care options when you notice things aren’t quite right in your body… early intervention makes a big difference!