Getting a diagnosis of cancer when you are uninsured is a harrowing event. Many times the options depend on your sex, your type of cancer, and where you live. Federal legislation provides that female patients diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer qualify for Medicaid for cancer treatment if low income. For female patients with other types of cancer or for male cancer patients, the federal coverage laws do not apply. For states, like Georgia, that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, patients have fewer options.
Uninsured adults often delay preventive care which can worsen survival outcomes. Also more advanced stages of cancer require more expensive care. Whether an uninsured cancer patient can get care often depends on where the person lives and the type of cancer he or she has.
Researchers at the American Cancer Society estimate that 30,000 uninsured people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Uninsured cancer patients incur credit card debt or launch GoFunMe campaigns. People mortgage their homes for cancer treatment. While cancer patients can purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, they must wait until the regular enrollment period in November of each year. Then the plans do not activate until the start of the next calendar year.