Are Food Allergies Underdiagnosed in Low-Income Families?

Are Food Allergies Underdiagnosed in Low-Income Families? Feature Image
August 3, 2020

Are you aware of your food allergies? A recent study found that the prevalence of food allergy among children enrolled in Medicaid was 0.6% lower compared to previous national estimates using parent surveys (7.6%) and reports of physician confirmation of food allergy (4.7%). This means that families in the Medicaid program may be encountering barriers to accessing and affording specialists and potentially life-saving epinephrine prescriptions. Barriers to accessing affordable food allergy care harm our entire community and creates a form of discrimination.

Researchers found strong associations between race/ethnicity and food allergies. There is a higher likelihood of undiagnosed and untreated food allergies in people of color. Of course, socioeconomic problems, such as language barriers and unequal access to medical care, could play a role. That’s why we are proud to have a diverse team of specialists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers who speak many languages to overcome such language barriers.

While the study mentioned is the first to analyze Medicaid claims data of over 23 million children to estimate the prevalence of food allergy diagnosis, it brings up the importance of food allergy awareness. Almost half of the children with food allergies have a life-threatening allergic reaction in their lifetime, many that become fatal. These children need access to life-saving allergy care including epinephrine auto-injectors. The total estimated costs associated with food allergies are nearly $25 billion annually. We are striving to help provide affordable allergy care to every family in the NYC area.

How You Can Access Affordable Care for Food Allergies

You should have access to allergy care no matter your income level. At NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, we understand that your health is a priority. That’s why we work with many insurance companies, so you can focus more on your treatment and less on the cost. We accept most Medicaid health insurance plans and work with your Primary Care Provider to determine your care. If you need a referral to see one of our allergy specialists, ask your PCP for a direct referral to visit us. 

To further your access to affordable food allergy care, the FDA has approved generic versions of EpiPen and Auvi-Q that cost significantly less than their name brands. These generic epinephrine auto-injectors offer the same active ingredients and treatment for anaphylaxis. When speaking with your doctor and pharmacist, be sure to ask for the generic version of your prescription to lower your out-of-pocket costs.

You can also ask your pharmacist for a prescription discount card that covers up to 80% of your cost. However, you cannot use your discount card with your insurance. So, it’s best to see which option will cost less. For questions about your prescriptions or health insurance, contact our office at (212) 686-6321.