Cost of medical care for COPD is high
Health care costs among individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease within several large, multi-state employers. Darkow T, Chastek BJ, Shah H, Phillips AL. J Occup Environ Med. 2008. 50: 1130–1138.
To determine the healthcare costs and medical resource usage associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a preventable disease largely caused by smoking, in which the airflow to the lungs is restricted).
6,445 US-based employees and their dependents (also covered by company medical insurance) who were diagnosed with COPD between January 2001 and December 2002, and two 'control' groups of individuals without COPD.
Healthcare costs and medical resource usage for the group with COPD were compared with those of the control groups.
Control group one – individuals with no evidence of COPD, including those with and without healthcare costs.
Control group two – individuals with no evidence of COPD who incurred no healthcare costs.
- Individuals with COPD tended to use medical resources much more frequently than those without COPD; the number of outpatient, emergency room, and hospital visits was significantly higher in the COPD group.
- Further, those with COPD incurred much higher pharmacy, medical, and total healthcare costs than both control groups.
- Healthcare costs for those with COPD totalled US$15,875 per year, compared with $3,634 and $5,148 for control groups one and two, respectively.
What does this mean?
The economic burden of COPD is high in young, working-age individuals. Effective management of COPD could lower the costs associated with this condition.