Augmenting the American Cancer Society's Free Call-In Service on Insurance Coverage

Using cancer patients' stories to monitor the progress of health reform implementation in informing the public, media, and policy-makers

    • January 10, 2014

Dates of Project: November 2010 to November 2012

The American Cancer Society expanded its Health Insurance Assistance Service to allow the organization to collect cancer patients’ stories of their experience with the Affordable Care Act, and to share them with media and policy-makers.

Description: The project team re-established a web-based data form, called Datacase, that allows staff to document access problems faced by cancer patients, and added 10 new data fields to the form.

The program served—and will continue to serve—6,500 people annually. Callers tended to be older, unmarried, un- or underemployed, and have much lower incomes than the population as a whole. Among non-employed callers, most were not working due to health reasons.

Reasons that callers offered for contacting the service included:

  • They were unable to afford co-pays, monthly premiums, and/or deductibles to obtain and/or maintain health coverage
  • Facilities requested cash up-front before they would treat an uninsured patient
  • They lost employer coverage due to layoff

For 76 percent of the cancer patients who called the American Cancer Society’s Health Insurance Assistance Service, no insurance option was able to solve their problems.

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The American Cancer Society updates its health insurance assistance system to take into account the ACA.

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