Financial literacy improves financial behaviors, which decreases the likelihood of cost-related nonadherence.
A recent study found that patients with higher levels of positive financial behaviors had a lower likelihood of cost-related nonadherence (CRN) to medications.
For the study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers defined CRN as underusing medications and delaying or not fulfilling recommendations due to cost.
Researchers gathered data from the Speak to Your Health! Community Survey administered to 1234 residents of Genesee County, Michigan who were at least 18-years-old, from October 2011 through March 2012.
The data was used to evaluate the relationship between positive financial behaviors, financial stress, and CRN.
For the survey, participants were asked whether they did not see a doctor or fill a prescription in the past 12 months due to cost.
Participants were also asked questions to determine their level of financial stress and their positive financial behaviors, which researchers defined as behaviors that allow financial stability with financial resources.
For this data, participants were asked if they set aside money from each pay period for savings, have trouble sleeping due to financial problems, are concerned because they cannot afford health insurance, and only spend what they can afford.
Also, participants were asked to identify whether or not they take medications for chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, sarcoidosis, sickle cell anemia, or lupus.
Researchers also asked if the participant had health insurance, and if so, what kind.
According to the study, 90% of the participants were employed and 30% attended college or higher education.
Approximately 50% of participants had employer-sponsored health insurance and high blood pressure.
In regard to CRN, 20% did not see a doctor and 24% did not fill a prescription due to cost. The prevalence of CRN was 30% in participants surveyed.
Researchers found that the mean financial stress score was 13.85 (SD = 6.97), which indicated moderate financial stress. The participants indicated moderate positive financial behaviors with a mean score of 8.84 (SD = 3.24).
There was no significant correlation discovered between financial stress and positive financial behaviors (p = .32).
A large amount of participants who reported CRN had employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, the Genesee Health Plan, and conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes.
Financial stress and CRN was not significantly different between participants with lower levels of positive financial behavior, compared with those with higher levels.
Though the researchers’ original hypothesis was not supported, their findings suggest that positive financial behaviors and financial literacy may influence CRN.
Despite health insurance status and chronic conditions, promoting financial literacy may help certain groups reduce the occurrence of CRN.
Researchers said that improving financial literacy as a means to promote positive financial behavior to prevent CRN can be a good option for high-risk groups, such as patients with high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, or those who have health insurance plans with high cost sharing.