Improving Cancer Patients’ Insurance Choices (I Can PIC): A Randomized Trial of a Personalized Health Insurance Decision Aid

Mary C. Politi, Rachel L. Grant, Nerissa P. George, Abigail R. Barker, Aimee S. James, Lindsay M. Kuroki, Timothy D. McBride, Jingxia Liu, Courtney M. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Many cancer survivors struggle to choose a health insurance plan that meets their needs because of high costs, limited health insurance literacy, and lack of decision support. We developed a web-based decision aid, Improving Cancer Patients’ Insurance Choices (I Can PIC), and evaluated it in a randomized trial. Materials and Methods: Eligible individuals (18–64 years, diagnosed with cancer for ≤5 years, English-speaking, not Medicaid or Medicare eligible) were randomized to I Can PIC or an attention control health insurance worksheet. Primary outcomes included health insurance knowledge, decisional conflict, and decision self-efficacy after completing I Can PIC or the control. Secondary outcomes included knowledge, decisional conflict, decision self-efficacy, health insurance literacy, financial toxicity, and delayed care at a 3–6-month follow-up. Results: A total of 263 of 335 eligible participants (79%) consented and were randomized; 206 (73%) completed the initial survey (106 in I Can PIC; 100 in the control), and 180 (87%) completed a 3–6 month follow-up. After viewing I Can PIC or the control, health insurance knowledge and a health insurance literacy item assessing confidence understanding health insurance were higher in the I Can PIC group. At follow-up, the I Can PIC group retained higher knowledge than the control; confidence understanding health insurance was not reassessed. There were no significant differences between groups in other outcomes. Results did not change when controlling for health literacy and employment. Both groups reported having limited health insurance options. Conclusion: I Can PIC can improve cancer survivors’ health insurance knowledge and confidence using health insurance. System-level interventions are needed to lower financial toxicity and help patients manage care costs. Implications for Practice: Inadequate health insurance compromises cancer treatment and impacts overall and cancer-specific mortality. Uninsured or underinsured survivors report fewer recommended cancer screenings and may delay or avoid needed follow-up cancer care because of costs. Even those with adequate insurance report difficulty managing care costs. Health insurance decision support and resources to help manage care costs are thus paramount to cancer survivors’ health and care management. We developed a web-based decision aid, Improving Cancer Patients’ Insurance Choices (I Can PIC), and evaluated it in a randomized trial. I Can PIC provides health insurance information, supports patients through managing care costs, offers a list of financial and emotional support resources, and provides a personalized cost estimate of annual health care expenses across plan types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalOncologist
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • Cancer survivors
  • Decision support techniques
  • Health
  • Health literacy
  • Insurance
  • Self-efficacy

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