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Bankruptcy among insured surgical patients with breast cancer: Who is at risk?

Obeng-Gyasi S, Timsina LR, Bhattacharyya O, Fisher CS, Haggstrom DA. Bankruptcy among insured surgical patients with breast cancer: Who is at risk?. Cancer. 2021 Jun 15; 127(12):2083-2090.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The rising cost of cancer treatment has been linked to higher bankruptcy rates and worse mortality among patients with cancer. The objective of this study was to identify the characteristics of insured patients with breast cancer who underwent surgery and filed for bankruptcy. METHODS: Insured patients with breast cancer who underwent surgery were identified in the Indiana State Cancer Registry (ISCR) from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2014. Patients who filed for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy in the Public Access to Courts Electronic Records (PACER) database were linked to patients in the ISCR. The cohort was divided into 2 groups: no bankruptcy (NB) and bankruptcy after diagnosis (BAD). Bivariate analysis and a logistic regression model were used to identify patients who were at increased risk of filing for bankruptcy after their diagnosis. RESULTS: Of 23,012 patients, 207 (0.9%) filed for bankruptcy after diagnosis and 22,805 (99.1%) did not file for bankruptcy. The patients who filed for bankruptcy after diagnosis were younger (BAD vs NB: median age, 53 years [interquartile range (IQR), 46-61 years] vs 62 years [IQR, 52-71 years], non-White (BAD vs NB, 20.5% vs 8.5%), and lived in lower income neighborhoods (BAD vs NB: median annual income, $50,869 [IQR, $41,051-$61,150] vs $52,522 [IQR, $41,356-$64,915]). On multivariable analysis, younger age (aged = 40 years: odds ratio [OR], 5.41; 95% CI, 2.8-12.31; aged 41-64 years: OR, 2.65; 95% CI, 1.33-5.12; aged = 65 years, reference category) and non-White race (non-White: OR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.54-3.83; White, reference category) were associated with filing for bankruptcy after diagnosis CONCLUSIONS: Younger age and non-White race are associated with an increased risk of filing for bankruptcy after diagnosis among insured patients who undergo surgery for breast cancer. Additional steps should be taken to screen and address the financial vulnerability of these patients at treatment initiation.





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