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High Co-Pays May Keep Children from Receiving Asthma Care

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study indicates that high co-pays may prevent American children from doctor visits and medication necessary to fight asthma.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, parents who were forced to share more of the cost of their child's treatment -- either through deductibles or co-pays -- were often forced to use cheaper medication or even go without.

The study surveyed 769 parents of children with asthma between the ages of four and 11 years old. Those parents at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level were significantly less likely to make a trip to a doctor's office or the emergency department, four percent compared to 32 percent of parents with lower co-pays.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than nine percent of American children have the potentially fatal respiratory disease.

The survey also found that three percent of parents changed to a cheaper medication because of cost. About 10 percent of parents said they gave their child less of the medication than prescribed for the same reason.

The study's author says that the low-income subsidies brought by the Affordable Care Act could help to reduce the cost barriers for many families. Still, those subsidies would not help those unable to afford employer-sponsored family coverage.

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