Review Article

A review of cancer outcomes among persons dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid

Steven S. Coughlin, Lee Caplan, Lufei Young


The fragmentation and lack of coordination of health care may result in less efficient and more costly care and lead to poorer outcomes. There has been increasing interest in examining cancer outcomes among persons who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. Previous studies have identified disparities in the quality of cancer treatment according to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and source of health insurance. This article, which is based upon bibliographic searches in PubMed, reviews the literature on dual enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid and cancer survival and quality of cancer treatment. A total of 65 articles were identified. Of the 65 articles that were screened using the full texts or abstracts, 13 studies met the eligibility criteria, one cross-sectional study and 12 cohort studies. The results of this systematic review indicate that there is only limited evidence that dual enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid is associated with poorer survival or quality of cancer care. The number of studies that have looked for associations between dual Medicare-Medicaid status and survival and quality of cancer treatment is still small. Outcomes and cancer site(s) varied among the studies. Additional studies are needed to determine the replicability of findings reported to date. Of particular interest are studies of major forms of cancer (breast, prostate, lung, colorectal) that include adequate numbers of patients described by insurance status, race, comorbidity, stage, receipt of appropriate cancer therapy, and survival.

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