Background: Proper asthma management and control depend on patients having affordable access to healthcare yet financial barriers to asthma care are common.
Objective: To examine associations of work-related asthma (WRA) with financial barriers to asthma care and adverse asthma outcomes.
Research Design: Cross-sectional, random-digit-dial survey conducted in 37 states and District of Columbia.
Subjects: A total of 27,927 ever-employed adults aged ≥18 years with current asthma.
Measures: Prevalence ratios (PR) for the associations of WRA with financial barriers to asthma care and of WRA with adverse asthma outcomes stratified by financial barriers.
Results: Persons with WRA were significantly more likely than those with non-WRA to have at least 1 financial barrier to asthma care [PR, 1.66; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.43–1.92]. Individuals with WRA were more likely to experience adverse asthma outcomes such as asthma attack (PR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.22–1.40), urgent treatment for worsening asthma (PR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.39–1.78), asthma-related emergency room visit (PR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.41–2.03), and very poorly controlled asthma (PR, 1.54; 95% CI: 1.36–1.75). After stratifying for financial barriers to asthma care, the associations did not change.
Conclusions: Financial barriers to asthma care should be considered in asthma management, and individuals with WRA are more likely to experience financial barriers. However, individuals with WRA are more likely to experience adverse asthma outcomes than individuals with non-WRA, regardless of financial barriers. Additional studies are needed to identify medical, behavioral, occupational, or environmental factors associated with adverse asthma outcomes among individuals with WRA.