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ACA Protects Coverage for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Dependent coverage provision cuts risk for insurance loss by 15 percent

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Patients with a pediatric cancer who are protected under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dependent coverage provision (DCP) are more likely to remain on private insurance for longer durations versus older peers who turned 19 years old before the ACA, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in JCO Oncology Practice.

Lena E. Winestone, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues evaluated the impact of the ACA on insurance continuity for privately insured adolescent and young adult patients with cancer. The OptumLabs Data Warehouse was used to identify 18- to 25-year-old patients with a diagnosis of cancer between 2000 and 2015. Patients eligible for the DCP were matched on cancer type, diagnosis date, and clinical characteristics to patients who were not eligible when they turned 19 years of age.

The researchers found a 15 percent greater reduction in the risk for insurance coverage loss among eligible patients after implementation of the DCP versus before its enactment. Over four years, younger patients were more likely to retain insurance coverage than older patients (37 versus 31 percent).

“As policymakers debate expanding or repealing the ACA, the impact of the popular DCP on improved insurance continuity for oncology patients should be taken into consideration,” the authors write. “As practicing oncologists, we can make our DCP-eligible patients aware of the provision, which provides the option for insurance coverage through their parents up to age 26 years.”

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