Objective: Although multiple noncost factors likely influence a patient's propensity to forego treatment in the face of cost pressures, little is known about how patients' sociodemographic characteristics, physical and behavioral health comorbidities, and prescription regimens influence cost-related nonadherence (CRN) to medications. We sought to determine both financial and nonfinancial factors associated with CRN in a nationally representative sample of older adults.
Methods: We used a conceptual model developed by Piette and colleagues that describes financial and nonfinancial factors that could increase someone's risk of CRN, including income, comorbidities, and medication regimen complexity. We used data from the 2004 wave of the Health and Retirement Study and the 2005 HRS Prescription Drug Study to examine the influence of factors within each of these domains on measures of CRN (including not filling, stopping, or skipping doses) in a nationally representative sample of Americans age 65+ in 2005.
Results: Of the 3071 respondents who met study criteria, 20% reported some form of CRN in 2005. As in prior studies, indicators of financial stress such as higher out-of-pocket payments for medications and lower net worth were significantly associated with CRN in multivariable analyses. Controlling for these economic pressures, relatively younger respondents (ages 65–74) and depressive symptoms were consistent independent risk factors for CRN.
Conclusions: Noncost factors influenced patients' propensity to forego treatment even in the context of cost concerns. Future research encompassing clinician and health system factors should identify additional determinants of CRN beyond patients' cost pressures.