Alink exists between financial insecurity and children living in the US diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (AD), according to findings from a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Data from the 2011-2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) pertaining to children under the age of 18 who ever reported a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis was analyzed. In this group, researchers found 10,126 children diagnosed with AD, with a median age of 8, of whom 50% were male non-Hispanic White. Compared with children without AD, children with the disease were more likely to struggle with medical bill payments and to have medical bills being paid off over time. In all, 5% of AD patients delayed medical care due to cost and 3% were unable to afford care at all.
It was also found that not being insured and having a household income less than 200% of the federal poverty level were associated with the patient’s difficulty in paying medical bills, but it must be noted that those associations were also seen among children with no history of AD diagnosis.
Limitations to the study include the reliance on self-reported diagnosis of AD.
Based on the results of this study researchers said, “Our findings suggest that a large proportion of [US] children with AD have family difficulty paying medical bills, and that several sociodemographic factors predispose these children to higher likelihood of financial insecurity.” They concluded, “Since the financial burden of AD may compound due to AD’s significant impact on quality-of-life, interventions aimed at reducing financial insecurity among at-risk children with AD may reduce health disparities related to AD.”
Zheng DX, Cwalina TB, Jella TK, Cullison CR, Shah SD, Scott JF, Camargo Jr. CA. Financial insecurity among U.S. children with atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol (2022). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2022.02.048