Insurance Coverage and Cancer Care

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance concluded in its 2002 publication, Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late, that uninsured Americans receive inadequate medical care, receive it too late and are sicker and die sooner than those with insurance. To address this issue facing all uninsured Americans, ASCO is committed to identifying policy solutions that will ensure access to affordable healthcare for every citizen.

Recent studies confirm that patients with cancer who do not have insurance are especially vulnerable. They die from their disease at rates substantially higher than those who are insured. Therefore, as a crisis intervention, ASCO believes there should be immediate coverage for any uninsured individual who receives a cancer diagnosis.

Although there are many factors that influence access to cancer care, lack of insurance is recognized by ASCO to be a major impediment to receiving appropriate care. Therefore, ASCO has identified the following as critical elements of improving access to insurance for patients with cancer:

  • Eligibility upon Diagnosis: Access to insurance should be ensured for all patients receiving a cancer diagnosis
  • Affordability: Insurance enrollment fees, premiums, and other cost-sharing amounts should be within the ability of all patients to pay
  • Accessibility: Patients should have access to local providers under their insurance
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Insurance that covers cancer should also cover other conditions and co-morbidities

Insurance Resources for Patients

Below are links to ASCO's patient-oriented website Cancer.Net, which has resources about insurance coverage: