DOI: 10.1200/op.23.00680 ISSN: 2688-1527

Health Insurance Navigation Tools Intervention: A Pilot Trial Within the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

Elyse R. Park, Anne C. Kirchhoff, Karen Donelan, Giselle K. Perez, Aaron McDonald, Cayley C. Bliss, Allyson Foor, Karely M. van Thiel Berghuijs, Austin R. Waters, Natalie Durieux, Wendy Leisenring, Gregory T. Armstrong, Colin Ponzani, Ana Lopez, Perla L. Vaca Lopez, Tracy Battaglia, Alison A. Galbraith, Karen A. Kuhlthau
  • Oncology (nursing)
  • Health Policy
  • Oncology


Childhood cancer survivors are at increased risk for underinsurance and health insurance–related financial burden. Interventions targeting health insurance literacy (HIL) to improve the ability to understand and use health insurance are needed.


We codeveloped a four-session health insurance navigation tools (HINT) intervention, delivered synchronously by a patient navigator, and a corresponding booklet. We conducted a randomized pilot trial with survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study comparing HINT with enhanced usual care (EUC; booklet). We assessed feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy (HIL, primary outcome; knowledge and confidence with health insurance terms and activity) on a 5-month survey and exit interviews.


Among 231 invited, 82 (32.5%) survivors enrolled (53.7% female; median age 39 years, 75.6% had employer-sponsored insurance). Baseline HIL scores were low (mean = 28.5; 16-64; lower scores better); many lacked knowledge of Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. 80.5% completed four HINT sessions, and 93.9% completed the follow-up survey. Participants rated HINT's helpfulness a mean of 8.9 (0-10). Exit interviews confirmed HINT's acceptability, specifically its virtual and personalized delivery and helpfulness in building confidence in understanding one's coverage. Compared with EUC, HINT significantly improved HIL (effect size = 0.94. P < .001), ACA provisions knowledge (effect size = 0.73, P = .003), psychological financial hardship (effect size = 0.64, P < .006), and health insurance satisfaction (effect size = 0.55, P = .03).


Results support the feasibility and acceptability of a virtual health insurance navigation program targeted for childhood survivors to improve HIL. Randomized trials to assess the efficacy and sustainability of health insurance navigation on HIL and financial burden are needed.

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