Clinical trial insurance coverage for cancer patients under the Affordable Care Act

Christine B. Mackay, Tami Gurley-Calvez, Kirsten D. Erickson, Roy A. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Participation in cancer clinical trials has been shown to increase overall survival with minimal increase in cost, but enrollment in adult cancer clinical trials remains low. One factor limiting enrollment is lack of insurance coverage, but this barrier should be reduced under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes a provision requiring coverage for clinical trial participation as of 2014. Methods To assess the number of Kansas adults aged 19-64, newly covered with health insurance for participation in oncology clinical trials as a result of the ACA, a cross sectional design using extracted data from the 2012 American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample to estimate the number of individuals covered by insurance and data from the 2014 Department of Health and Human Services Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment to estimate those newly enrolled through ACA. Results In 2014, there was an estimated increase of 3% (54,397; 95% CI: 44,149-64,244) for a total of 72% (1,171,041) of Kansans aged 19 to 64 with health insurance coverage for clinical trial participation. Conclusion Three main factors limit the effectiveness of the ACA provisions in expanding clinical trial coverage: 1) 'grandfathered' self-funded employer plans not subject to state Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations, 2) Medicaid coverage limits not addressed under the ACA, 3) populations that remain uninsured. Kansas saw a negligible increase in insurance coverage as a result of the ACA thus lack of insurance coverage is likely to remain a concern for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
StatePublished - Apr 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affordable Care Act
  • Barrier
  • Cancer clinical trial
  • Grandfathered policy
  • Insurance denial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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