Higher Administrative Payment Burden Causes Delays in Cancer Care

Younger patients, African American patients appear to have more cost-related delays/nonadherence
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with cancer, engaging in administrative tasks to estimate costs or pay for care is associated with an increase in cost-related treatment delays or nonadherence, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Meredith Doherty, Ph.D., from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues used data from a survey performed by the nonprofit CancerCare, which polled U.S. cancer patients and survivors about their engagement in payment-related administrative tasks and their experience with cost-associated treatment delays or nonadherence. The analysis included 510 responses.

The researchers found that when adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, and monthly out-of-pocket costs, participants who engaged in any administrative tasks were 18 percent more likely to experience any treatment delays or nonadherence than participants who did not engage. Each unit increase of administrative burden was associated with a 32 percent higher frequency of treatment delays or nonadherence when adjusting for age and estimated monthly out-of-pocket care costs. Age, race/ethnicity, and monthly out-of-pocket costs were more strongly associated with treatment delays or nonadherence than administrative burden. Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African American patients were more likely to engage in administrative tasks and experience treatment delays or nonadherence. Additionally, younger patients (44 years or younger) participated in more payment-related tasks and had more cost-related delays/nonadherence than patients aged 55 years and older.

"It's fairly unique to our for-profit U.S. health care system for the consumer to be responsible for acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to effectively use those goods or services and to ensure they're of high quality," Doherty said in a statement.

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