THURSDAY, July 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For cancer survivors, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are associated with cost-related barriers to care, and these barriers are greater for black cancer survivors, according to a study published online June 24 in JAMA Network Open.

Megan B. Cole, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the differential association between HDHP enrollment and access to care by race/ethnicity among 3,713 privately insured adults 18 to 64 years with a past or current cancer diagnosis.

The researchers found that cancer survivors enrolled in an HDHP were more likely to be non-Hispanic white individuals compared with those not enrolled in an HDHP (90.0 versus 86.3 percent). During the study period, 44 percent of privately insured cancer survivors were enrolled in an HDHP. Comparing cancer survivors with an HDHP versus those without, enrollment in an HDHP was associated with greater cost-related barriers to accessing care. For four of the eight measures examined, the magnitude of the association was significantly larger for black versus white patients. For example, 22.8 percent of black and 8.0 percent of white cancer survivors with an HDHP skipped medication to save money compared with 7.7 percent versus 5.4 percent without an HDHP.

“As enrollment in high-deductible health plans continues to rise, this has really concerning implications for racial equity among cancer survivors,” Cole said in a statement.

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