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Large survey reveals that few MS patients have long-term care insurance

DALLAS – The findings suggest that clinical care teams should initiate early discussions of possible long-term needs with their patients.

A number of sociodemographic factors may influence health and disability insurance access by individuals with multiple sclerosis, including employment, age, gender, disease duration, marital status, and ethnicity, results from a large survey suggest.

“The last similar work was conducted over 10 years ago and so much has happened in the meantime, including the Great Recession and the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, that offers protection for health care but not for other important types of insurance (short- and long-term disability, long-term care, and life),” lead study author Sarah Planchon, PhD, said in an interview in advance of the meeting held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. “MS is one of the most costly chronic diseases today. That is not only because of the cost of disease-modifying therapies but also because of lost employment and income. We wanted to better understand the insurance landscape so that we could in turn educate patients and professionals about the protection these insurances offer and advise them on how to obtain these policies.”

In an effort to evaluate factors that affect insurance access in MS, Dr. Planchon, a project scientist at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and her colleagues used the North American Research Committee on MS (NARCOMS), iConquerMS, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to survey 2,507 individuals with the disease regarding insurance, demographic, health, disability, and employment status. They used covariate-adjusted nominal logistic regression to estimate odds ratios for the likelihood of having or not having a type of insurance. The majority of respondents (83%) were female, their mean age was 54 years, 91% were white, 65% were currently married, and their mean disease duration at the time of the survey was 16 years. In addition, 43% were employed full/part-time, and 29% were not employed or retired because of disability. Nearly all respondents (96%) reported having health insurance, while 59% had life insurance, 29% had private long-term disability insurance, 18% had short-term disability insurance, and 10% had long-term care insurance.

Read on: Large survey reveals that few MS patients have long-term care insurance

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