Methods: Data from the National Heath Information Survey (NHIS) was used to compare the self-reported affordability of healthcare between CCS and non-cancer adults. The analysis was limited to those 21-65 at time of survey as older adults are eligible for Medicare and would have been less impacted by the provision. CCSs were matched 1:3 to non-cancer controls based on demographics. A difference-in-differences analysis was used to compare the pre- (2011-2013) and post-ACA (2015-2017) changes on healthcare affordability between CCS and non-cancer adults, adjusting for demographics.
Results: There were 309 CCSs identified in the 2011-2013 cohort and 324 in the 2015-2017 cohort. The two cohorts were similar in demographic composition. The median age was 36 and 40, respectively, and both were predominantly white and female. These were matched to cohorts of 927 and 972 non-cancer controls, respectively.
From 2011-2013, 45% of CCSs reported difficulty paying for healthcare and 28% and 25%, respectively, reported delaying and skipping needed care due to costs. CCSs were 191% more likely to report difficulty paying for healthcare, 131% more likely to report delaying and 194% more likely to report skipping needed healthcare due to costs than non-cancer controls (all p < 0.001).
From 2015-2017, 36% of CCSs reported difficulty paying for healthcare and 21% and 14%, respectively, reported delaying and skipping needed care due to costs. CCSs were 130% more likely to report difficulty paying for healthcare, 88% more likely to report delaying and 72% more likely to report skipping needed healthcare due to costs than non-cancer controls (all p < 0.001).
The difference-in-difference analysis suggested that skipping needed care was the only indicator of disparity that improved statistically post-ACA. In respect to non-cancer controls, the disparity among CCSs reduced by 63% (p < .05).
Conclusions and Implications: Following implementation of the ACA, a smaller proportion of CCSs report problems with affordability of healthcare. However, compared to non-cancer controls, CCSs still face disparate challenges in paying for healthcare. CCSs are at greater risk for chronic health conditions, have higher out-of-pocket medical costs, and lower average incomes than their peers, all of which put them at greater disadvantage in terms of paying for healthcare.