Background: Previous studies of intimate partner violence have not compared the health care costs of female victims with those of a general female population.
Methods: Our study is an analysis of the computerized cost data for 126 identified victims of intimate partner violence in a large health plan in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1994. Data were compared with a random sample of 1007 general female enrollees (aged 18 to 64 years) who used health care services in the same year.
Results: We found that an annual difference of $1775 more was spent for victims of intimate partner violence than on a random sample of general female enrollees. Regression analyses found that victims of intimate partner violence were significantly younger and had more hospitalizations, general clinic use, mental health services use, and out-of-plan referrals. Use of emergency room services was the same across groups.
Conclusions: Women who were victims of intimate partner violence cost this health plan approximately 92% more than a random sample of general female enrollees. Contrary to the findings of other studies, use of emergency room services was not a driving factor in the higher costs. Findings of significantly higher mental health service use are supported by other studies.