Patients with Asthma Fare Worse with Insurance Cost Sharing

A study published online in May, 2014, in JAMA Pediatrics, examined “the associations between cost sharing, income, and care seeking and financial stress among children with asthma.” Using a telephone survey, researchers gathered information on a variety of behaviors including, “switching to cheaper asthma drugs, using less medication than prescribed, delaying/avoiding any office or emergency department visits, and financial stress (e.g, cutting back on necessities) because of the costs of asthma care.” Reporting on the study, the New York Times noted “that families with higher levels of cost-sharing were significantly more likely to delay or avoid going to the office or emergency room for their child’s asthma. They were more likely to have to borrow or cut back on necessities to afford care. They were more likely to avoid care….The difference between avoiding care and obtaining it wasn’t due to being insured or uninsured. It wasn’t due to having government or private insurance. It was due to cost-sharing. And cost-sharing is highest among privately covered individuals at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.”

The abstract and the Times article are online.