The financial burden of cancer on families in the United States

Patrick Richard*, Nilam Patel, Yuan Chiao Lu, Regine Walker, Mustafa Younis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between a diagnosis of cancer and the likelihood of having any out-of-pocket costs (OOPC) and medical debt, and the amounts of OOPC and medical debt, at the household level. We used the 2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a continuous, representative panel survey that collects demographic, economic, and social data in the United States. The analytic sample included head of households and their spouse (if married), 18–64 years old. Two-part models were used. The first part consisted of logistic regression models and the second part consisted of generalized linear models with logarithmic link and a gamma distribution. Logistic regression results showed odds of 2.13 (CI: 1.27, 3.57, p < 0.01) for any OOPC and odds of 1.55 (CI: 0.93, 2.58, p < 0.1) for any medical debt for households in which either the head or spouse (if married) reported a diagnosis of cancer compared to those that did not report a diagnosis of cancer. Likewise, results from the second part of the model for households with a positive amount of OOPC showed an exponentiated coefficient of 1.73 (CI: 1.33, 2.25, p < 0.01) for households in which either the head or spouse (if married) reported a diagnosis of cancer compared to households without a diagnosis of cancer. This study shows that a diagnosis of cancer places a financial burden on families, particularly with all types of debt, in the United States even after controlling for differences between households with a diagnosis of cancer and those without a diagnosis of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3790
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Medical debt
  • Out of pocket costs
  • Panel study of income dynamics

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