Health and life insurance-related problems in very long-term cancer survivors in Germany: a population-based study

Melissa S.Y. Thong*, Daniela Doege, Linda Weißer, Lena Koch-Gallenkamp, Heike Bertram, Andrea Eberle, Bernd Holleczek, Alice Nennecke, Annika Waldmann, Sylke Ruth Zeissig, Ron Pritzkuleit, Michael Schlander, Hermann Brenner, Volker Arndt

*Corresponding author for this work


Purpose: Limited research suggests that cancer survivors have problems with insurance. Our study aimed to gain insight into the proportion of very long-term (14–24 years post-diagnosis) survivors of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers who had problems with health (HI) and life (LI) insurance. Methods: We used data from CAESAR (CAncEr Survivorship—A multi-Regional population-based study). Participants completed questions on change in insurance providers since cancer diagnosis, problems with requesting (additional) HI or LI, and how potential problems were resolved. We conducted logistic regression to determine factors associated with change in statutory HI. Results: Of the 2714 respondents, 174 (6%) reported having changed HI providers. Most switched between different statutory HI providers (86%), 9% from statutory to private, and 5% from private to statutory. Respondents who changed statutory HI providers were more likely to be prostate cancer survivors (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.01–7.68) while being ≥ 65 years at time of diagnosis (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35–0.96) and having ≥ 2 comorbid conditions (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.40–0.92) were associated with reduced odds for change. Problems in changing HI were minimal and were resolved with additional contribution. Of the 310 respondents who tried to get LI, 25 respondents reported having difficulties, of whom the majority had their request rejected. Conclusion: Most cancer survivors did not change their HI nor tried to buy LI after cancer diagnosis. Problems with changing statutory HI were generally resolved with additional contribution while the main problem encountered when buying LI was rejection of request.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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