Increasing copayments and adherence to diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemic medications.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a medication copayment increase on adherence to diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemic medications. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective pre-post observational study. METHODS: This study compared medication adherence at 4 Veterans Affairs medical centers between veterans who were exempt from copayments and propensity-matched veterans who were not exempt. The diabetes sample included 1069 exempt veterans and 1069 nonexempt veterans, the hypertension sample included 3545 exempt veterans and 3545 nonexempt veterans, and the sample of veterans taking statins included 2029 exempt veterans and 2029 nonexempt veterans. The main outcome measure was medication adherence 12 months before and 23 months after the copayment increase. Adherence differences were assessed in a difference-in-difference approach by using generalized estimating equations that controlled for time, copayment exemption, an interaction between time and copayment exemption, and patient demographics, site, and other factors. RESULTS: Adherence to all medications increased in the short term for all veterans, but then declined in the longer term (February-December 2003). The change in adherence between the preperiod and the postperiod was significantly different for exempt and nonexempt veterans in all 3 cohorts, and nonadherence increased over time for veterans required to pay copayments. The impact of the copayment increase was particularly adverse for veterans with diabetes who were required to pay copayments. CONCLUSION: A $5 copayment increase (from $2 to $7) adversely impacted medication adherence for veterans subject to copayments taking oral hypoglycemic agents, antihypertensive medications, or statins.
Maciejewski, ML; Bryson, CL; Perkins, M; Blough, DK; Cunningham, FE; Fortney, JC; Krein, SL; Stroupe, KT; Sharp, ND; Liu, C-F
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