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Patient–Provider Discussions About Out-of-Pocket Costs of Cancer Care in the U.S.

      Introduction

      Despite the importance of cost-related discussions in cancer care, little is known about the prevalence or drivers of these discussions in clinical practice. This study estimates the prevalence and examines the correlates of cancer survivors’ discussions about out-of-pocket costs of cancer care with providers.

      Methods

      The 2016 and 2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Experiences with Cancer Surveys were used to identify 1,550 survivors who responded to the question on discussion about out-of-pocket costs of cancer care. Multivariable multinomial logistic regression examined the correlates of discussions about out-of-pocket costs. Analyses were performed in 2019.

      Results

      Approximately one quarter of cancer survivors reported having discussed the out-of-pocket costs of cancer care. In multivariable analyses, respondents in the following categories were less likely to report no cost discussion than any cost discussion: black non-Hispanic/other race (RRR=0.67, 95% CI=0.45, 0.98; white non-Hispanic race as reference), no health insurance at diagnosis (RRR=0.51, 95% CI=0.27, 0.95; private health insurance as reference), and any experience of financial hardship (RRR=0.48, 95% CI=0.35, 0.66; no financial hardship as reference).

      Conclusions

      Patient-reported discussions about out-of-pocket costs for cancer care are infrequent in the U.S. The findings highlight the needs to improve the understanding of the barriers and facilitators for effective discussions about out-of-pocket costs of cancer care.
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