Date of this Version


Document Type



Background: The relationship between insurance status and interhospital transfers has not been adequately researched among cancer patients. Hence this study aimed for understanding this relationship using a nationally representative database. Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted using National Inpatient Sample (NIS) data collected during 2010–2016 and included all cancer hospitalization between 18 and 64 years of age. Interhospital transfers were compared based on insurance status (Medicare, Medicaid, private, and uninsured). Weighted multivariable logistic regressions were used to calculate the odds of interhospital transfers based on insurance status, after adjusting for many covariates. Results: There were 3,580,908 weighted cancer hospitalizations, of which 72,353 (2.02%) had interhospital transfers. Uninsured patients had significantly higher rates of interhospital transfers, compared to those with Medicare (P = 0.005) and private insurance (P < 0.001). Privately insured patients had significantly lower rates of interhospital transfers, compared to those with Medicare (P < 0.001) and Medicaid (P < 0.001). Logistic regression analyses showed that the odds of having interhospital transfers were significantly higher among uninsured (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.57, 95% CI: 1.45–1.69), Medicare (aOR, 1.38, 95% CI: 1.32–1.45) and Medicaid (aOR, 1.23, 95% CI: 1.16–1.30) patients when compared to those with private insurance coverages. Conclusion: Among cancer patients, uninsured and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely to experience interhospital transfers. In addition to medical reasons, factors such as affordability and socioeconomic status are influencing interhospital transfer decisions, indicating existing healthcare disparities. Further studies should focus on identifying the causal associations between factors explored in this study as well as additional unexplored factors.