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Health Insurance and Spending Among Cancer Patients

A new study of spending on cancer care by Americans starkly illustrates the link between health insurance and patients' use of potentially life-saving treatments. In analyzing national health expenditure data, Emory University professors Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., and David Howard, Ph.D., found that the amount that uninsured cancer patients spent on their care over a typical six-month period was just over one-half (57%) that spent by cancer patients with private insurance. Lower spending among uninsured cancer patients is partly, if not completely, due to their lower use of health services—including hospital admissions, physician visits, and emergency room visits. The results provide compelling evidence that expanding insurance coverage will likely improve cancer treatment for many Americans.

Publication Details



"Health Insurance and Spending Among Cancer Patients," Kenneth E. Thorpe and David Howard, Health Affairs Web Exclusive, (April 9, 2003): W3-189–198