A study published by Yale COPPER Center’s Amy J. Davidoff, PhD and colleagues at the American Cancer Society (ACS) has made it to The Most Discussed and Shared JCO Articles of 2017, a list of the top-10 articles with the highest Altmetric Attention Scores, which measure the quality and quantity of online attention received.
The study, “Changes in Insurance Coverage and Stage at Diagnosis among Nonelderly Patients With Cancer After the Affordable Care Act,” examines how the ACA-related coverage expansions affected insurance coverage and stage at diagnosis among patients with newly diagnosed cancer between 2011 and 2014. Using data from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a hospital-based cancer registry that captures approximately 70% of all cancer cases in the United States, the study found that the percentage of nonelderly adult patients with newly diagnosed cancer who were uninsured decreased significantly after the ACA, particularly among low-income people who resided in Medicaid expansion states. It also found a trend toward early-stage diagnosis for select cancers in expansion states.
Coverage status at the time of diagnosis is a critical determinant of the initial cancer care trajectory. Absence of coverage has been associated with late stage diagnosis, receipt of suboptimal care, and poor survival after a diagnosis of cancer. Given the influential role insurance can play during the diagnosis and treatment phases, the results of the study bolster the importance of policies directed at providing affordable coverage to low-income, vulnerable populations.