Cancer History, Health Insurance Coverage, and Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence and Medication Cost-Coping Strategies in the United States

Zhao, J., Zheng, Z., Han, X., Davidoff, A. J., Banegas, M. P., Rai, A., Jemal, A., Yabroff, K. R.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the relationship between cancer history and cost-related medication nonadherence (CRN) as well as cost-coping strategies, by health insurance coverage. METHODS: We used the 2013 to 2016 National Health Interview Survey to identify adults aged 18 to 64 years with (n = 3599) and without (n = 56 909) a cancer history. Cost-related changes in medication use included (1) CRN, measured as skipping, taking less, or delaying medication because of cost, and (2) cost-coping strategies, measured as requesting lower cost medication or using alternative therapies to save money. Separate multivariable logistic regressions were used to calculate the adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of CRN and cost-coping strategies associated with cancer history, stratified by insurance. RESULTS: Cancer survivors were more likely than adults without a cancer history to report CRN (AOR 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-1.43) and cost-coping strategies (AOR 1.10; 95% CI 0.99-1.19). Among the privately insured, the difference in CRN by cancer history was the greatest among those enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) without health savings accounts (HSAs) (AOR 1.78; 95% CI 1.30-2.44). Among adults with HDHP and HSA, cancer survivors were less likely to report cost-coping strategies (AOR 0.62; 95% CI 0.42-0.90). Regardless of cancer history, CRN and cost-coping strategies were the highest for those uninsured, enrolled in HDHP without HSA, and without prescription drug coverage under their health plan (all P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Cancer survivors are prone to CRN and more likely to use cost-coping strategies. Expanding options for health insurance coverage, use of HSAs for those with HDHP, and enhanced prescription drug coverage may effectively address CRN.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2019
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