Importance: High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) require high upfront cost-sharing, which has been associated with suboptimal anticancer medication uptake and adherence. Whether HDHP enrollment has limited the affordability and use of lenalidomide therapy among commercially insured patients with multiple myeloma is unknown.
Objective: To assess the association of HDHP enrollment with out-of-pocket spending on and adherence to lenalidomide therapy.
Design, setting, and participants: In this cohort study, data were obtained from the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database for adults aged 18 to 64 years with multiple myeloma who newly initiated lenalidomide therapy between April 1, 2013, and June 30, 2017. Quantile regression and modified Poisson regression evaluated out-of-pocket spending, and group-based trajectory models and multinomial logistic regression examined patterns of and factors associated with adherence. Analyses were conducted from April to August 2020.
Exposures: High-deductible health plan enrollment in the 3 months before and 6 months after initiation of lenalidomide therapy.
Main outcomes and measures: Distribution of out-of-pocket spending, the probability of paying more than $100 for the first and any lenalidomide prescription fill, and monthly lenalidomide therapy adherence using the proportion of days covered (≥80%).
Results: Of the 3163 commercially insured patients who initiated lenalidomide therapy (median age, 57 years [IQR, 53-60 years for HDHP enrollees and 52-61 years for non-HDHP enrollees]), 328 (10.4%) were enrolled in HDHPs and 1769 (55.9%) were women. Among the highest spenders (95th percentile), HDHP enrollees paid $376 (95% CI, -$28 to $780) and $217 (95% CI, $106-$323) more for their first and any lenalidomide prescription fill, respectively, compared with non-HDHP enrollees in the 6 months after initiation. High-deductible health plan enrollment was also associated with an increased risk of paying more than $100 for the initial (adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 1.30 [95% CI, 1.13-1.50]) and any (aRR, 1.26 [95% CI, 1.12-1.42]) lenalidomide prescription fill. Three adherence trajectory groups were identified: those with high adherence (n = 1273), late nonadherence (n = 1084), and early nonadherence (n = 805). High-deductible health plan enrollment was not associated with adherence group assignment.
Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, HDHP enrollment was associated with higher out-of-pocket spending per lenalidomide prescription fill; however, no statistically significant differences in adherence patterns between HDHP and non-HDHP enrollees were observed. Patient (eg, perceptions of treatment benefits), payer (eg, out-of-pocket maximums), and clinician (eg, counseling patients on disease severity) factors may have limited the potential for nonadherence among commercially insured patients who initiated lenalidomide therapy.