Asthma Takes a Heavy Economic Toll in the United States

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The per-person incremental medical cost of asthma differed from the population average for certain groups, including uninsured individuals and those living below the poverty line.
The per-person incremental medical cost of asthma differed from the population average for certain groups, including uninsured individuals and those living below the poverty line.

HealthDay News — Asthma places a considerable economic burden on the United States, with a total cost of $81.9 billion in 2013, according to a study published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Tursynbek Nurmagambetov, PhD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated current prevalence, medical costs, costs of absenteeism, and mortality attributable to asthma using data from the 2008 to 2013 household component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

The researchers found that 10,237 of the 213,994 people in the pooled sample had treated asthma (prevalence, 4.8%). Per-capita, the annual incremental medical cost of asthma was $3266 (in 2015 dollars), with $1830, $640, $529, $176, and $105 attributable to prescription medication, office visits, hospitalizations, hospital-based outpatient visits, and emergency room visits, respectively.

The per-person incremental medical cost of asthma differed from the population average for certain groups, including uninsured individuals ($2145) and those living below the poverty line ($3581). Asthma accounted for $3 billion in losses from missed work and school days, $29 billion in losses from asthma-related mortality, and $50.3 billion in medical costs in 2008 to 2013. In 2013, the total cost of asthma in the United States was $81.9 billion.

"Asthma places a significant economic burden on the United States, with a total cost of asthma, including costs incurred by absenteeism and mortality, of $81.9 billion in 2013," the authors wrote.

Reference

Nurmagambetov T, Kuwahara R, Garbe P. The economic burden of asthma in the United States, 2008-2013 [published online January 11, 2018]. Ann Am Thorac Soc. doi:10.1513/AnnalsATS.201703-259OC

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