High Out-of-Pocket Costs Called a Hidden 'Side Effect' of Treatment

Doctors should consider the "toxic" effects of medical debt as much as any other side effect when discussing treatment options with patients, a trio of physicians contends.

Doctors should consider the "toxic" effects of medical debt as much as any other side effect when discussing treatment options with patients, a trio of physicians contends.

New England Journal of Medicine

By not making potential expense a part of the conversation regarding treatment options, doctors are exposing patients to financial troubles that could compound their health struggles, the Duke physicians wrote in an opinion piece in the Oct. 17 .

"Since health care providers don't often discuss potential costs before ordering diagnostic tests or making treatment decisions, patients may unknowingly face daunting and potentially avoidable health care bills," the physicians wrote. "Because treatments can be 'financially toxic,' imposing out-of-pocket costs that may impair patients' well-being, we contend that physicians need to disclose the financial consequences of treatment alternatives just as they inform patients about treatments' side effects."

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Source: U.S. News & World Report