TUCSON, Ariz. — Approximately 1-in-3 chronically-ill National Health Interview Survey participants are unable to afford food, medications or both, according to a study published Jan. 21 in the American Journal of Medicine. WIC and public health insurance participation are associated with less food insecurity and cost-related medication underuse.
According to the study, of the 9,696 adult NHIS participants who reported chronic illness, 23.4% reported cost-related medication underuse; 18.8% reported food insecurity; and 11% reported both. Adults who reported food insecurity were significantly more likely to report cost-related medication underuse. Participants with both cost-related medication underuse and food insecurity were more likely to be Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black, and have more chronic conditions than patients reporting neither. They were also less likely to have public, non-Medicare insurance and report to WIC participation.
For people struggling to pay for either food or medications, the authors recommended looking into eligibility for food assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC, along with community support services like food banks, according to a report in Reuters Health.