Medication for children with chronic asthma can be expensive. More private insurers are now shifting some of the cost of these drugs towards patients in an effort to control expenses. A new study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined how higher costs for parents affect the use of asthma medication and the children's overall health.
Researchers reviewed insurance claims of children with asthma who started medication between 1997 and 2007. These kids were covered under private insurance. The study followed them for one year after they began their therapy. It showed children six to 18 years old, in plans that charged more, received less medication. Some were given less than half of the medication needed to control their condition.
Dr. Dana Goldman from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, was one of the co-authors of the study. He says, "kids in the higher cost plans had about 33% higher rates of hospitalization than those who were in plans that charged them less for these medications."
He says this may mean parents may need more education about the benefits of prescription medications for chronic illness
Researchers say children five years and under seemed to take the same amount of medication regardless of what parents had to pay out-of-pocket.