Original Article|Articles in Press

Cost burden among the CF population in the United States: A focus on debt, food insecurity, housing and health services

Published:January 27, 2023DOI:


      • Two-thirds of people with CF in the United States experience debt, food insecurity, or housing issues
      • People with CF at lower income levels are at higher risk of financial burden
      • High rates of financial burden exist despite low rates of uninsurance.
      • People covered by Medicare and Medicaid (known as dual-eligibles) are especially vulnerable to financial burdens.



      Advancements in the cystic fibrosis (CF) field have resulted in longer lifespans for individuals with CF. This has led to more responsibility for complex care regimens, frequent health care, and prescription medication utilization that are costly and may not be fully covered by health insurance. There are outstanding questions about unmet medical needs among the U.S. population with CF and how the financial burden of CF is associated with debt, housing instability, and food insecurity.


      Researchers developed the CF Health Insurance Survey (CF HIS) to survey a convenience sample of people living with CF in the U.S. The sample was weighted to reflect the parameters of the 2019 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry Annual Data Report, and chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression models were conducted.


      A total of 1,856 CF patients in the U.S. were included in the study. Of these, 64% faced a financial burden: 55% of respondents faced debt issues, 26% housing issues, and 33% food insecurity issues. A third reported at least one unmet medical need: 24% faced unmet prescription needs, 12% delayed or shortened a hospitalization, and 10% delayed or skipped a care center visit as a result of the cost of care.


      People with CF in the U.S. experience high financial burden, which is associated with unmet medical needs. Income is the biggest risk factor for financial burden for people with CF, with people dually covered by Medicare and Medicaid particularly at risk.


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