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Financial Hardship From Medical Bills Common in ASCVD

TUESDAY, Feb. 12, 2019 -- A considerable proportion of nonelderly adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) have financial hardship from medical bills, according to a report published in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Javier Valero-Elizondo, M.D., M.P.H., from Yale New Haven Health in Connecticut, and colleagues examined the national burden of financial hardship from medical bills among individuals with ASCVD using data from the National Health Interview Survey. A total of 6,160 adults aged 18 to 64 years reported having ASCVD.

The researchers found that 45.1 percent of nonelderly adults with ASCVD were part of families that reported having any financial hardship from medical bills. Overall, 18.9 percent of nonelderly adults with ASCVD reported being unable to pay medical bills at all. Uninsured and low-income individuals had the highest burden of any financial hardship from medical bills and an inability to pay bills. Compared with higher-income individuals, low-income individuals with ASCVD had 1.34 and 2.24 higher odds of being in families facing any financial hardship from medical bills and an inability to pay medical bills, respectively. The corresponding odds ratios for uninsured individuals with ASCVD compared with insured individuals were 1.86 and 3.27. An inability to pay medical bills was correlated with increased high financial distress, food insecurity, and cost-related medication nonadherence (odds ratios, 3.6, 2.89, and 3.39, respectively).

"The current health care system fails to protect a significant proportion of nonelderly ASCVD patients from financial hardship and its dire consequences," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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Posted: February 2019

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