Costs Attributable to Osteoarthritis

Published in: Journal of Rheumatology, v. 25, no. 11, Nov. 1998, p. 2213-2218

Posted on on January 01, 1998

by Catherine MacLean, Kevin Knight, H. E. Paulus, Robert H. Brook, Paul G. Shekelle

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The objective of this study was to estimate charges attributable to osteoarthritis (OA) in a managed care organization. This is a longitudinal study based on insurance claims incurred and filed between 1991 and 1993 in a national managed care organization. Patients with claims for OA were randomly sampled to yield 20,000 study subjects. Charges per person-year were determined for these patients and compared to those of comparison subjects matched for age, sex, and insurance plan without claims for OA. The study found that total charges per patient-year adjusted to 1993 dollars for patients with OA less than 65 and greater than or equal to 65 years of age were $5,294 and $5,704, respectively, while charges for controls were $2,467 and $3,741, respectively. Thus, charges due to OA were $2,827 and $1,963, accounting for 5% of total plan charges. The authors conclude that patients with symptomatic OA incur charges for medical care at about twice the rate of plan enrollees without claims for OA and account for a substantial proportion of total charges in a managed care plan.

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