Older adults often struggle with health care costs. Cost of care (CoC) conversations are conversations between health care providers and patients to discuss direct and indirect costs associated with health care. These conversations have been found to increase patient compliance, but patients and health care providers often do not have these discussions. This article describes a project to provide Extension education to encourage CoC conversations for older adults and health care providers in rural counties in a southern state. To inform educational material development, 125 older adults and 51 health care providers completed surveys about their cost-related barriers to health care, attitudes and frequency of CoC conversations, and preferred educational methods. Older adults reported that they were most comfortable discussing health care costs with physicians and pharmacists but that health care providers rarely initiated these conversations. Health care providers indicated that they were comfortable talking about health care costs with patients and reported that they often initiate these conversations. Both older adults and health care providers indicated fact sheets as a top educational method. This project demonstrates how Extension educators can partner with health care providers to educate older adults about communicating cost-related challenges and needs.



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