COPD patients who are covered by a high-deductible insurance plan are more likely to forgo needed healthcare because of cost than COPD patients covered by lower-deductible plans, according to research presented at ATS 2019.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2011-2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). They compared patients covered by a high-deductible health plan to those with a low- or no-deductible private plan. Plans with deductibles $1,300 and higher, or $2,600 and higher for families were considered high-deductible as per NHIS.

The study included 2,253 individuals with COPD of which 1,404 had traditional private insurance and 849 had a high-deductible health plan.

According to results, COPD patients with high-deductible health plans were more likely to:

  • Report foregoing care because of costs as compared to those in a traditional plan (15.0% vs. 6.9%)
  • Report a medical bill problem (77.0% vs. 62.3%)
  • Have any cost-related medication non-adherence (28.8% vs. 19.1%)
  • Have one or more ER visits in the last year (31.9% vs. 26.4%), and
  • Have one or more hospitalizations (15.9% vs. 12.0%).

“High-deductible plans may have harmful consequences in patients with COPD, including greater financial stress, reduced healthcare access, and worse outcomes,” researchers concluded.