Cancer Survival and Health Insurance: Is There a Connection?

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Cancer Survival and Health Insurance: Is There a Connection?

SYNOPSIS

This paper explores the statistical data related to health insurance and cancer survival rates. A description of different health insurance options is covered, as well as disparities that are associated with these choices. It attempts to make the connection between certain demographic groups and their health insurance options and eventual choices and how these individuals fared if ever diagnoses with cancer. Most studies outlines in this paper studied more than one type of cancer so as to provide a clearer picture from many angles.

Introduction

There has long been suspicion that the correlation between health insurance and better health care are undeniable. In reality, not only is the presence of insurance believed to allow the patient to fare better, but the better the insurance, the better the outcome. Generally, insurance is provided either through employer-based programs, government programs (i.e. Medicare, State Children’s Health Insurance Plan, Medicaid, etc.) or private (nongroup) insurance (Ward, Halpern, Schrag, Cokkinides, DeSantis, Bandi, Siegel, Stewart and Jemal, 2008). Insurance Descriptions

Employer-Based
With employer-based programs, participants are either employees of a company or a family member of an employee of a company. In 2006, 62% of insured individuals obtained insurance through their employers. While employer-based insurance plans offer some advantages, there are some serious disadvantages to these plans. Not all employees choose to participate, whether it is purely by choice or because of inability to pay, which could lead to problems should these employees be diagnosed with cancer. Most tragically, if the insured employees do develop cancer, they may be at risk of losing their employment which of course would lead to losing their health insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, leaves them with an often unaffordable option to maintain health insurance. It is usually very costly, particularly when one factors in their loss of income from the unemployment (Ward, et al, 2008). Government Programs

Medicare
For most Americans over 65 years of age, Medicare is the automatic health insurance option, given they’ve paid into Medicare for at least 10 years. Upon their 65th birthday, enrollment in Medicare Part A is automatic if the individual is eligible for social security benefits (Ward, et al., 2008). Medicare Part A only covers hospital visits, which warrants the need or Medicare Part B. Part B covers physician services, diagnostic tests, outpatient care, specific preventative services and more. Part B, as it offers many more comprehensive services, also comes with a cost. There is a monthly premium associated with Part B that members are responsible for paying out of pocket. There are also Parts C and D, which further expand benefits for those individuals who wish to pay for them. The federal government sets the Medicare deductibles on a yearly basis. This deductible covers the first 60 days of care. Upon the 61st day, Medicare recipients are required to pay an increasing percentage of the total cost of care (Ward, et al., 2008). In instances where an individual is diagnosed with cancer, this cost could become exceedingly high. Medicaid

Low-income individuals can qualify for Medicaid, which is a federally aided and state administered program. Although the federal guidelines call for certain populations (i.e. children, pregnant women, elderly, disabled) to be eligible, states can also set their eligibility standards. The group most likely to have Medicaid coverage is children under 18. Women are more likely to be Medicaid recipients than men. Adults aged 45-64 range from 5% for White men to 15% for African-American and Hispanic women (Ward, et al, 2008). Medical assistance for women who are screened through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer...
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