Raising Women’s Voices

The Cost of Copayments

Posted in Affordability by raisingwomensvoices on April 30, 2009

According to a RAND Corp. study published on April 27, the number of chronic patients who postpone treatment because of high out-of-pocket costs is a large–and growing–concern.

copayThe study included over 272,000 retirees, and focused on 117,000 who were newly diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol to see when they began filling prescriptions. All of the 272,000 received coverage under 31 employer-sponsored health plans between 1997 and 2002.

The study showed that patients who began treatment within a year of being diagnosed dropped from 55% to 40% when copayments doubled.

We all know by now that complications grow more serious when treatment or prescriptions are delayed. In this case, avoiding treatment leads to higher rates of heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Matthew Solomon, the article’s lead author, and an adjunct researcher at RAND, has said, “Epidemiologic studies tell us that we do a terrible job of treating patients with these conditions. Now we know one reason why.” 

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