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Insurance Coverage Tied to Better Cancer-Specific Outcomes

For young adults, insurance linked to reduced odds of metastatic disease, any-cause death

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Health insurance coverage is associated with improved cancer-specific outcomes for young adults, according to a study published online June 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ayal A. Aizer, M.D., M.H.S., from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between insurance status and cancer-specific outcomes in young adults. Data were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for 39,447 patients aged 20 to 40 years and diagnosed with a malignant neoplasm between 2007 and 2009.

The researchers found that uninsured patients were more likely to be younger, male, nonwhite, and unmarried, and were also more likely to be from regions of lower income, education, and population density than insured patients (P < 0.001 in all cases). Insurance coverage correlated with decreased likelihood of presentation with metastatic disease (odds ratio, 0.84; P = 0.003); increased receipt of definitive treatment (odds ratio, 1.95; P < 0.001); and decreased any-cause death (hazard ratio, 0.77; P = 0.002), after adjustment for relevant confounding variables.

"The improved coverage fostered by the Affordable Care Act may translate into better outcomes among most young adults with cancer," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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