A new study, published online last week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, has shown that 20% of diabetics with high-deductible health plans regularly skip their medications, according to Medicine Net.
Non-compliant with your diabetes medications could potentially increase your risk of an emergency room visit or a hospitalization.
The study also found that people with high deductibles are 28% more likely to avoid taking their medicines on time due to cost compared to those without high-deductible health plans.
PCP Dr. Vikas Gampa of Massachusetts General Hospital said, “Taking prescribed medications is essential for maintaining good health for patients with diabetes.”
“Our results show that high-deductible health plans, particularly in this period of escalating prices for diabetes medication, are discouraging patients from getting the medications they need and thus they are placing patients with diabetes at risk,” he added.
The researchers looked at U.S. federal survey data on over 7,000 adult patients with diabetes who were enrolled in a commercial health insurance plan, per Medicine Net. They examined how often patients reported not taking their medication because they could not afford it.
The team found that about 25% of high-deductible plan enrollees who take insulin for diabetes could not afford the medication than 19% of those with traditional plans,
What is more concerning is diabetics who could not take their medicines as advised were more likely to have one or more ED visits and hospitalization.
Dr. Gampa said, “Putting up financial barriers to care in order to save plans money – as high-deductible plans do – not only takes a medical toll on patients, it is also short-sighted because doing so actually increases other health care costs such as covering emergency department visits.”
Senior author Dr. Danny McCormick said, “Patients with diabetes should recognize that a high-deductible plan will put them at risk for missing or delaying their medications, and doctors need to recognize that their patients with these plans may not be able to adhere to treatment plans.”
“Ultimately, policymakers need to enact reforms that discourage health plans from implementing financial barriers that block access to needed care, such as high-deductible plans,” added Dr. McCormick, a PCP at the Cambridge Health Alliance.
“Our results suggest that policymakers must enact reforms that control rapidly escalating prices for diabetic medications,” he explained. The article was published on Medicine Net.