Dependent Care Expansion Boosts Survival in AYA Patients With Cancer

Published on: 

Research showed a survival improvement in adolescent and young adult cancer survival after the Dependent Care Expansion allowed patients to be on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.

Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer tend to have the largest proportion of individuals who are uninsured, though the Affordable Care Act’s Dependent Care Expansion (DCE) is help bridging that gap — and may even lead to improved outcomes, explained Dr. Susan Parsons, medical director of the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and professor of medicine and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine.

The DCE allows eligible young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26. Parsons cited recent research published in the journal The Oncologist showing two-year survival significantly improved for patients between the ages of 19 and 23 after the DEC was passed.

“So that was a huge impact to get them insured, but to see that translate to better cancer outcomes was really impressive,” Parsons said.

READ MORE:The ‘Toxicity of Cancer’ Includes Lifetime Economic, Non-Financial Costs in AYAs


I think that there are a couple of federal programs that parents may need to be aware of, particularly for young adults, and that I think the one that is the most impactful in terms of impact on survival is the Dependent Care Expansion (DCE) under the Affordable Care Act.

DCE allowed patients to remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, which was hugely impactful. And I was at a conference last week and (Dr. Michael) Roth from (The University of Texas) MD Anderson (Cancer Center) showed some incredible slides that that patients who were insured under the DCE actually had better survival. … That was incredible to me. I mean, I had long been aware of that provision, I was very happy about that, because AYAs historically had the largest proportion of uninsured among any cancer group. So that was a huge impact to get them insured, but to see that translate to better cancer outcomes was really impressive.

So, parents need to know about that so that they don't make the mistake of dropping their child's coverage for that very vulnerable period of transition from late adolescence to early young adulthood which is fraught with all sorts of important transitions.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.