Subjective Financial Hardship due to Medical Bills Among Patients With Heart Failure in the United States: The 2014–2018 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

HYEON JU RYOO Ali, JAVIER VALERO-ELIZONDO, STEPHEN Y. WANG, MIGUEL CAINZOS-ACHIRICA, ARVIND BHIMARAJ, SAFI U. KHAN, MUHAMMAD SHAHZEB KHAN, ELIAS MOSSIALOS, ROHAN KHERA, KHURRAM NASIR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Heart failure (HF) poses a substantial economic burden on the United States (US) health care system. In contrast, little is known about the financial challenges faced by patients with HF. In this study, we examined the scope and sociodemographic predictors of subjective financial hardship due to medical bills incurred by patients with HF. Methods: In the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS; years 2014–2018), a US nationally representative database, we identified all patients who reported having HF. Any subjective financial hardship due to medical bills was assessed based on patients’ reporting either themselves or their families (1) having difficulties paying medical bills in the past 12 months, (2) paying bills late or (3) being unable to pay bills at all. Logistic regression was used to evaluate independent predictors of financial hardship among patients with HF. All analyses took into consideration the survey's complex design. Results: A total of 116,563 MEPS participants were included in the analysis, of whom 858 (0.7%) had diagnoses of HF, representing 1.8 million (95% CI 1.6–2.0) patients annually. Overall, 33% (95% CI 29%–38%) reported any financial hardship due to medical bills, and 13.2% were not able to pay bills at all. Age ≤ 65 years and lower educational attainment were independently associated with higher odds of subjective financial hardship due to medical bills. Conclusion: Subjective financial hardship is a prevalent issue for patients with HF in the US, particularly those who are younger and have lower educational attainment. There is a need for policies that reduce out-of-pocket costs for the care of HF, an enhanced identification of this phenomenon in the clinical setting, and approaches to help minimize financial toxicity in patients with HF while ensuring optimal quality of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1433
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Financial hardship, financial toxicity, heart failure
  • medical bills, out-of-pocket costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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