Because health insurance is intended to protect patients in the event of a health shock, it is important to evaluate health insurance policy in the context of patients who experience health shocks. I measure the effect of cancer diagnosis on health insurance switching in order to compare cancer patient's preferences among private and publicly administered Medicare. I estimate that a cancer diagnosis increases the probability a patient will leave a private Medicare plan, for the public plan, by 0.8% points (41%). Similarly, a cancer diagnosis decreases the probability a patient will leave the public Medicare plan, for a private plan, by 0.5% points (16%). The implication is that private Medicare plans are relatively less attractive to cancer patients than they are to noncancer patients.
The effect of cancer diagnosis on switching health insurance in medicare