U.S. cancer patients engage in administrative tasks to pay for their healthcare. This study investigated the relationship between payment tasks and timely access to cancer care.
We analyzed online survey data from 510 U.S. cancer patients and survivors to understand the relationship between administrative payment tasks and cost-related delays and nonadherence. Two-part modelling was used to determine if, and to what extent, there was a relationship between administrative burden and cost-related delays/nonadherence.
Younger patients (≤44 years) reported more payment tasks and cost-related delays/nonadherence than older patients (≥ 55 years); African American patients reported more payment tasks and cost-related delays/nonadherence than white patients. After accounting for age, race/ethnicity, education, and out-of-pocket costs, patients who reported engaging in more tasks had greater log odds of delaying/forgoing care [b = 0.18; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.12–0.24]. Cost-related delays/nonadherence increased by 32% for every unit increase in administrative payment burden (b = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.18–0.46).
Administrative payment burden increased the odds of cost-related delays and nonadherence by 49%, taking the form of delayed or skipped doctor appointments, tests and bloodwork, and prescription fulfillment. Younger patients and those identifying as African American were more likely to engage in payment tasks and to delay or forgo care due to cost. Administrative burdens can disrupt access to care and traditionally underserved patient populations are disproportionately exposed to these hardships.
Reducing the complexity of healthcare through universal, human-centered design could reduce burdens and increase access.