FRIDAY, Aug. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Cancer survivors with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are more likely to experience delayed or foregone care, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Zhiyuan Zheng, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues identified a nationally representative sample of 4,321 cancer survivors and 95,316 individuals without a history of cancer. The authors examined the correlations among HDHP/health savings account (HSA) status with delayed/foregone care and hospital emergency department visits for cancer survivors and adults without a cancer history.

The researchers found that compared with survivors enrolled in low-deductible health plans (LDHPs), cancer survivors enrolled in HDHPs with or without an HSA were more likely to experience delayed/foregone care (8.9 and 13.9, respectively, versus 7.9 percent). Emergency department visits did not differ by insurance type. Among cancer survivors with HDHPs, HSA enrollment was associated with less delayed/forgone care. HDHP with or without HSA was associated with more delayed/forgone care compared with LDHPs among individuals without a cancer history (9.5 and 10.8, respectively, versus 5.9 percent). For HDHP enrollees without a cancer history, HSA enrollment was also associated with less delayed/forgone care.

“For vulnerable populations of cancer survivors, efforts are needed to improve patient education concerning health plan benefits, to increase care coordination and HSA enrollment among those eligible, and to minimize financial risks,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by AstraZeneca.

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