The Role of Health Insurance Coverage in Cancer Screening Utilization


Introduction. Although previous studies have shown a correlation between health insurance coverage and cancer screening, underinsurance and cancer screening among racial/ethnic minorities has not been examined. Methods. Data from the 2000 and 2003 National Health Interview Surveys are used in this analysis. Cross-tabulations, age, and racial/ethnic group stratified regression analyses are used to examine associations between health insurance status and receipt of mammography, Pap testing, prostate specific antigen tests, fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and colorectal endoscopy. Results. In overall models, uninsurance was associated with lower receipt of all tests except FOBT among participants ages 65–85 years. Underinsurance was associated with lower receipt of mammography among women under 65 years only. Conclusion. These findings show age variation in the association between cancer screening and health insurance coverage. In addition, health insurance appears to act similarly across racial/ethnic groups. Further examination of underinsurance in cancer screening utilization and other health behaviors is needed.