Fears of finance-related challenges for people suffering with chronic diseases may be equally as detrimental to their health management as actual out-of-pocket costs, a new University of Michigan study showed. The study, led by Dr. Minal Patel, assistant professor of health behavior and health education, focused on African American women with asthma, and found that the stress caused by management of insurance eligibility, correction of billing errors, and other administrative difficulties contributed to perceptions of financial burden, which might keep these women from accessing care.
[Photo: Dr. Minal Patel]
“Since perceptions largely influence behavior and outcomes in care, a better understanding of what these financial-related perceptions entail in the context of chronic disease management might provide more insight on how to better assess the size and distribution of the population at risk for poor health outcomes that may manifest from these burdens, as perceived by individuals who experience them,” Dr. Patel said. Understanding the perceptions of financial burden beyond out-of-pocket costs may better equip health care professionals to provide patient-centered care and more appropriate interventions.