Burden Associated With Selecting and Using Health Insurance to Manage Care Costs: Results of a Qualitative Study of Nonelderly Cancer Survivors

Nerissa George, Rachel Grant, Aimee James, Nageen Mir, Mary C. Politi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This qualitative study explored cancer survivors’ experiences selecting and using health insurance and anticipating out-of-pocket care costs. Thirty individuals participated in semistructured interviews. On average, participants were 54 years (SD ± 8.85, range 34-80) and diagnosed with cancer about 5 years prior (range 0.5-10 years). About 57% were female, 77% were non-Hispanic White, and 53% had less than a college education. Participants struggled to access information about health insurance and costs. Lack of cost transparency made it difficult to anticipate expenses and increased anxiety. Many participants were surprised that after cancer, care that was once preventive with no out-of-pocket costs became diagnostic with associated fees. They discussed the cognitive burden of managing finances on top of treatment and overseeing communication between doctors and insurance. Interventions are needed to clearly communicate information about insurance coverage and care costs to improve cancer survivors’ confidence in selecting health insurance and anticipating out-of-pocket expenses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • cancer survivors
  • cost transparency
  • decision support
  • health insurance
  • qualitative research

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