Report: Hispanics less likely to fill prescription due to cost

Struggling to meet health care costs, 29 percent of Hispanic adults said they had decided against filling a script for cost reasons, according to a national poll conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Survey respondents said that they also economized by asking their doctor for free samples, skipping doses, taking smaller doses, or sharing a prescription with someone else on the same medicine. Consumer Reports' (CR) poll demonstrates that the majority of Hispanic consumers in the U.S. are struggling with healthcare costs. When asked about how easy or difficult it is to afford healthcare, 66 percent responded "difficult" or "very difficult," including 88 percent of those without health insurance. Three-quarters of consumers earning under $50,000 and those born outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico reported difficulty dealing with cost, along with nearly 7 in 10 of those under the age of 55. CR's poll shows a large portion of Hispanics do not have health insurance (44 percent). Those most likely to be without health coverage were ages 18-34 (55 percent), in households earning less than $25,000 per year (54 percent), or foreign born (56 percent). Hispanics without health insurance are more than twice as likely as those with health insurance to forego a prescribed medication because of cost. They are nearly twice as likely to skip a dose to make a prescribed medication last longer. Moreover, one-quarter of uninsured Hispanics reported taking a smaller dose to make a prescription last longer versus 16 percent of Hispanics with health insurance. The uninsured also are more than 4 times as likely to share a prescription with someone else. This "sharing" trend is also popular with the younger Hispanics ages 18-34 years -- 22 percent said they had shared. "We were surprised by the extent to which Hispanic consumers are cutting corners and the risks they're taking to save money. The most important thing is for patients to talk to their doctors about the cost of medicines. This can be challenging for some patients, especially where there are language and cultural barriers," said Dr. Jose Luis Mosquera, medical expert for Consumer Reports.********** Published: March 27, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 49