Majority of Cancer Patients and Survivors Continue to be Concerned About Healthcare Policy and Coverage Changes
NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ -- More than half (59%) of cancer patients and survivors feel concerned that potential policy changes related to having a pre-existing condition will limit their access to healthcare and insured patients and survivors are concerned they may lose healthcare coverage due to national healthcare policy changes (46%), according to new national survey results from Cancer and Careers, a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace. Concerns about how policy changes at the national level will affect healthcare access and costs have remained consistent over the last two years. In both 2017 and 2018, a majority of surveyed cancer patients and survivors (73% in 2017; 76% in 2018) expressed concern about rising out-of-pocket costs, while 53% were worried that potential policy changes to lifetime limits or annual caps would limit their access to healthcare in 2017, compared to 55% in 2018.
The annual online survey, conducted between September 21 and October 22, 2018 by The Harris Poll, was designed to better understand the experience of 882 cancer patients and survivors who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work. Results show that employers and human resources (HR) teams have the opportunity to play a crucial role in the experience of working people with cancer. Four out of five (79%) agreed that patients and survivors who receive support from their employer are more likely to thrive in the workplace.
"As both a former human resources professional and a cancer survivor, I know the uncertainty and worry that occurs after a diagnosis and how that can impact all aspects of your life, including work. It's not surprising that most respondents believe employer support is crucial," said Kathy Flora, Career Coach for Cancer and Careers and former Human Resources Executive. "Employers and by extension, HR teams and managers, can be instrumental in helping employees figure out how to balance work and health demands if they decide they want to stay on the job."
While it is important for HR to offer support and guidance, they are the least likely audience for disclosure with just one quarter of employed respondents (26%) sharing their diagnosis with HR (this excludes 16% of respondents who did not have an HR department). Of those employed respondents who disclosed their diagnosis to HR, more than half (61%) asked them for guidance on balancing work and cancer. After the conversations with HR the most common sentiments were feeling supported (56%), understood (45%), and relieved (42%), although almost one in five felt stressed (17%) and worried (15%). Additionally, about three in ten employed respondents regardless of whether they disclosed to HR said they would like their HR team to provide assistance in better understanding their health insurance plan (33%) and/or information on company policies like flexible schedules and paid time off (31%).
Additional survey highlights include:
"Every year, our survey shows that cancer patients and survivors feel like work has a positive impact on their lives and recovery," says Rebecca Nellis, MPP, Executive Director, Cancer and Careers. "Our data reinforces what we've heard from working people with cancer for nearly 20 years. If an employee wants to work after a cancer diagnosis, it is essential that companies create and emphasize supportive policies to assist them. Navigating workplace challenges becomes easier when employees are equipped with the right knowledge, tools and support. Our goal is to help employers understand the challenges employees with cancer face in the workplace and how they can offer the best support, and also provide resources so that the more than 15 million survivors in the U.S. can continue to be vital and valued members of the workforce."
About the 2018 Survey
About Cancer and Careers
About The Harris Poll
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SOURCE Cancer and Careers