Atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with substantial financial cost, including increased out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses. Associations and impact of OOP costs are poorly understood.
The aim of the study was to characterize the impact and associations of OOP health care expenses for AD.
A 25-question online survey was administered to National Eczema Association members (N = 113,502). Inclusion criteria (US residents aged ≥18 years; self-reported AD or primary caregiver of individual with AD) were met by 77.3% (1118 of 1447).
Respondents with monthly OOP expenses greater than $200 were more likely to have increased AD severity, flares, health care provider visits, prescription polypharmacy, use of step-up therapy, frequent skin infections, and poorer disease control (P < 0.005 for all). Respondents with OOP yearly expenditures greater than $1000 had similar associations and additionally increased rates of comorbid asthma, allergic rhinitis, and anxiety/depression (P < 0.005 for all). A total of 64.6% (n = 624) reported harmful household financial impact of OOP expenses. Predictors of harmful impact included severe AD (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 2.62 [1.11–6.19], P = 0.04), comorbid asthma (1.42 [1.07–1.87], P = 0.03), 5 health care provider visits or more in a year (2.80 [1.62–4.82], P = 0.0007), greater than $200 OOP monthly expenditures (2.16 [1.45–3.22], 0.0006), and $1000 annual OOP expenditures or more (4.56 [3.31–6.27], P < 0.0001).
Out-of-pocket expenses for AD significantly impact household finances. Clinical interventions are needed to minimize OOP expenses while optimizing care outcomes.