Financial Burden on Low-income Families Grappling with Atherosclerotic CVD Remains Heavy

One in four low-income families living with a member with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease experienced heavy financial burdens, according to a new report published in JAMA Cardiology. The researchers for the cross-sectional study identified 22,521 adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease from 20,600 families in the analysis (corresponding to an estimated 23 million US adults of mean age 65).

Mean annual family income was $57,143 with a mean annual out-of-pocket expense of $4,415. While financial burden did lessen throughout the study, low-income families were three times more likely than mid- to high-income families of shouldering high financial burden, and a 9-fold increase in the odds for a catastrophic financial burden (corresponding about 2.9 million low-income families nationally). This increased burden even applied among the insured, with 1.6 million low-income families experiencing high financial burden and approximately 721,000 low-income families experiencing a catastrophic financial burden due to out-of-pocket expenditures during the study period.  

“To alleviate economic disparities, policy interventions must extend focus to improving not only access, but also quality of coverage, particularly for low-income families that include members with chronic diseases,” they wrote in the study.  

Source: JAMA Cardiology