The study, based on data from 1995 to 2009, did not take into account the potential impact of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, an expert pointed out.
"The problem of bankruptcy was one thing the ACA was designed to address," said Peter Cunningham, a senior fellow and director of quantitative research at the Center for Studying Health System Change, in Washington, D.C.
Cunningham expressed concern that the researchers didn't note whether the cancer patients or the control participants had health insurance. "So we don't know how much of a difference having health insurance makes in terms of avoiding bankruptcy," he said. "It would have been nice to see what the impact of health insurance coverage is in being able to prevent bankruptcy and how many people lost their health insurance coverage because of their cancer diagnosis."
What should people do to avoid the stress of money troubles when faced with a serious disease? "The study points to the value of having health insurance," Cunningham said.
Learn more about the cost of cancer treatment from the American Cancer Society.
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