SAN ANTONIO—Poor health status and expense of patients’ medications decrease rates of medication adherence among uninsured and underinsured patients, according to research presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA).

Reggie T. Cayetano, PA-S, MPH, and colleagues, of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, conducted an anonymous, 24-question paper survey of 83 under- or uninsured patients between July and December of 2015. Using a 5-point scale, patients reported their health status, the cost of their medication, their level of understanding of their diseases and medications, communication with their healthcare providers, and level of medication adherence.

Survey participants generally reported their health status as “good.” The researchers found that those who had a more positive view of their health status were more likely to self-report better medication adherence. Participants who reported skipping their medications due to cost, to save for other expenses including food or rent, or took medications in smaller doses to make prescriptions last longer were less likely to be adherent.

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Participants also reported receiving a good level of information about their conditions and related medications from their health care providers, and they were more likely to adhere to medication regimens when clinicians emphasized the importance of regularly taking their medications.

“Our findings suggest that poor health status and the expense of medications discourage medication adherence among uninsured and underinsured patients,” concluded Mr. Cayetano. “Patients’ understanding of their medical conditions and health care providers’ emphasis on regular intake of medications … may encourage adherence.”


  1. Cayetano RT, Gilbert SA, Guinan MJ, et al. Predictors impacting medication adherence among uninsured and underinsured patients. ePoster presented at: 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA); May 14-18, 2016; San Antonio, TX.