MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Zhiyuan “Jason” Zheng PhD
Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Historically, the cost of healthcare can be a substantial burden for cancer survivors and their families in the US. Even with health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can impose significant out-of-pocket costs for medical care. These are partially due to the rising costs of cancer treatments in recent years, moreover, the increasing levels of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles also shift a significant portion of the burden to cancer patients.
We found that younger cancer survivors, those aged 18-49 years, bear a higher burden than their older counterparts. We also found that two-thirds of cancer survivors enrolled in high-deductible health plans did not have health savings accounts, and they are more vulnerable to financial hardship than those in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts and those covered by low-deductible plans.
These findings are important to patients because although cancer patents have benefited from newer and more advanced treatments, financial hardship may lead to emotional distress, cause changes in health behaviors, and jeopardize treatment adherence and health outcomes.