A recent study has shown that having a decent medical plan can improve a patient’s chances.
Newly published research has shown that cancer patients who don’t have health insurance – or who do have it, but it is through the federal Medicaid program for those in the lowest income brackets – are at a considerably higher risk of negative medical outcomes than those with better coverage levels.
The research also showed that those with poor coverage are more likely to have advanced cancer on diagnosis.
Moreover, without health insurance, when they have received a cancer diagnosis, people are less likely to receive radiation or surgical treatment and they have an increased risk of dying of the disease, according to the researchers behind the study. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s online edition.
The health insurance study’s findings did not, however, explain all of the discrepancies it recorded.
The study also did not mention anything about the way in which the health care reform might make a difference in the outcomes that can be expected by cancer patients within the lowest income levels. At the same time, it does paint a concerning image of the overall system in the United States throughout the years that led up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
According to Dr. Gary Walker, the author of the study and a University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer radiation oncologist, “We were surprised to find that patients without insurance were twice as likely as those with insurance to present with cancer that’s spread from the place where it first started.” He also stated that “Even when adjusting for many different factors, patients were still more likely to die if they had Medicaid coverage or no insurance.”
The study findings revealed that as much as 33 percent of the patients who have Medicaid or who do not have any insurance plan had died within a span of two years after receiving a diagnosis.
Comparatively, among those who have better levels of health insurance, that rate plummeted to 14 percent – less than half of their counterparts with poor coverage.