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Association Between High Deductible Health Plans and Cost-Related Non-adherence to Medications Among Americans with Diabetes: an Observational Study



For people with diabetes, adherence to prescribed medications is essential. However, the rising prevalence of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), and prices of diabetes medications such as insulin, could deter adherence.


To assess the impact of HDHP on cost-related medication non-adherence (CRN) among non-elderly adults with diabetes in the US.


Repeated cross-sectional survey.


National Health Interview Survey, 2011–2018.


A total of 7469 privately insured adults ages 18–64 with diabetes who were prescribed medications and enrolled in a HDHP or a traditional commercial health plan (TCP).

Main Measures

Self-reported measures of CRN were compared between enrollees in HDHPs and TCPs overall and among the subset using insulin. Analyses were adjusted for demographic and clinical characteristics using multivariable linear regression models.

Key Results

HDHP enrollees were more likely than TCP enrollees to not fill a prescription (13.4% vs 9.9%; adjusted percentage point difference (AD) 3.4 [95% CI 1.5 to 5.4]); skip medication doses (11.4% vs 8.5%; AD 2.8 [CI 1.0 to 4.7]); take less medication (11.1% vs 8.8%; AD 2.3 [CI 0.5 to 4.0]); delay filling a prescription to save money (14.4% vs 10.8%; AD 3.0 [CI 1.1 to 4.9]); and to have any form of CRN (20.4% vs 15.5%; AD 4.4 [CI 2.2 to 6.7]). Among those taking insulin, HDHP enrollees were more likely to have any CRN (25.1% vs 18.9%; AD 5.9 [CI 1.1 to 10.8]).


HDHPs are associated with greater CRN among people with diabetes, particularly those prescribed insulin. For people with diabetes, enrollment in non-HDHPs might reduce CRN to prescribed medications.

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Correspondence to Vikas Gampa MD.

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Rastas, C., Bunker, D., Gampa, V. et al. Association Between High Deductible Health Plans and Cost-Related Non-adherence to Medications Among Americans with Diabetes: an Observational Study. J GEN INTERN MED (2021).

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  • insurance
  • cost
  • diabetes