Many Working-Age Cancer Survivors Suffer Financial Hardship
According to an Institute of Medicine study, cancer care costs in the United States are rising at two to three times the rate of other health care costs. To assess the financial burden of these expenses, Matthew Banegas of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and coauthors used data from a 2012 LIVESTRONG online survey of 4,719 cancer survivors, ages 18-64. According to the survey, 33.6 percent of respondents reported that they had to borrow money or go into debt to pay for their care; 39.7 percent had to make other kinds of financial sacrifices; and 3.1 percent had to file for bankruptcy. The ACA contains several provisions that may assist patients with high medical costs. The authors speculate that for low-income households especially, improved insurance availability and caps on out-of-pocket expenses contained in the ACA could ease the financial burden of cancer treatment. They recommend that future research should assess the impact of the ACA on barriers to access to care, costs of care for cancer survivors, and the associated financial hardship of cancer.