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Wong YN , Hamilton O , Egleston B , Salador K , Murphy C , Meropol NJ
Understanding How Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Treatment Value, and Patient Characteristics Influence Treatment Choices
Oncologist. 2010 ;15(6) :566-576
PMID: ISI:000279113300005   
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Abstract
Purpose. Cost sharing, intended to control the "overuse" of health care resources, may also reduce use of necessary services. The influence of cost on the treatment choices of patients with life-threatening illness, such as cancer, is unknown. Methods. A convenience sample of patients undergoing surveillance following curative treatment for localized cancer completed a paper survey that included three scenarios to elicit the maximum copayment they would be willing to pay for better treatment outcomes. Scenario A described a treatment for a curable cancer in terms of recurrence risk. Scenarios B and C described treatments for noncurable cancer in terms of the 2-year survival probability and median life expectancy. Results. The sample (n = 60) was 78% female, 83% aged <65 years, and 58% college graduates. Thirteen percent reported making financial sacrifices to pay for treatment. Patients were willing to pay higher copayments for more effective treatments (p <. 05 for all three scenarios). In scenario B, patients who were employed demonstrated a greater willingness to pay (WTP) (odds ratio [OR], 12.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0-80.4), when controlling for efficacy. In scenario C, college graduates showed greater WTP (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.2-20.9) and patients who reported previous financial sacrifices showed lower WTP (OR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.04-0.6). Conclusion. This pilot study suggests that patients may be less willing to pay high copayments for treatments with modest benefit. Even among this relatively young, affluent, and educated population, demographic variables were related to WTP. Larger studies in more diverse populations should be conducted to better understand how cost may influence treatment decisions and cancer treatment outcomes. The Oncologist 2010;15:566-576
Notes
Wong, Yu-Ning Hamilton, Olivia Egleston, Brian Salador, Kevin Murphy, Camara Meropol, Neal J. American Cancer Society [92-027-14, P30 CA006927] This project was supported by the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant 92-027-14 as well as P30 CA006927. 21 Alphamed press; 318 blackwell st, ste 260, durham, nc 27701-2884 usa 615dq