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Medicaid Expansion Helps Patients Pay for Care

Medicaid Expansion Helps Patients Pay for Care
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Published on May 27, 2020

Many patients and their loved ones face a second wave of worry when encountering a cancer diagnosis: the price tag for treatment. New therapies debut each year, but there’s not been much to help patients pay for this life-preserving care. The hit to the bank account, sometimes called financial toxicity, spares few. However, there is some good news.

ASCO20 Virtual: Medicaid Expansion Helps Many

A new study from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center showed that the adoption of Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped more patients pay for their cancer care. Study lead Dr. Anna Lee and her team looked at a national database, the National Center for Health Statistics, to do a deep dive on mortality rates of patients who had Medicaid while going through cancer treatment.

This study will be discussed at ASCO20 Virtual during the Plenary Session (that is, the main event) on June 2, 2020.1 This event, online only this year, is free to patient navigators, but you have to register to view and listen to presentations, which are recorded for later use.2  

The ACA, also called Obamacare, was designed to improve the health status of patients in the United States by increasing access to health insurance. Medicaid expansion varies from state to state, and this study compared cancer mortality rates over time between states that did or did not adopt Medicaid expansion. The conclusion: Medicaid expansion saves lives. Overall age-adjusted cancer mortality in the United States fell from 1999 to 2017 from 66.9 to 48.8 people per 100,000. Demographically, Hispanic patients showed the largest decrease in mortality rates, which tells us that barriers to care are real and need to be addressed on a larger scale.

Help Is Available

Getting the help you need in navigating the cost of care can be daunting but there is help available.  Everything from co-pays to insurance coverage can weigh on your mind, when you need to focus on the health and well-being of you or your loved one. Finding a good financial navigator is important and they’re available. Whatever your financial situation is, it’s in your best interest to ask questions to not only ensure you get the best care, but that you can find a way to pay for it. If you’re not sure about your Medicaid eligibility, because it may vary based on your household size, income, and other factors such as disability there are ways to find out online.3

Empowering you is our goal at Patient Power. The more we know, the more we’ll share with you.

~Lauren Evoy Davis

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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  1. Lee A, et al. Changes in cancer mortality rates after the adoption of the Affordable Care Act. J Clin Oncol. 38: 2020 (suppl; abstr 2003)
  2. American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO 20 Virtual.
  3. Medicaid


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