Purpose: To assess differences in medical care expenditures and informal care received for adults and children by individuals' self-reported epilepsy status and to estimate the total economic impact of epilepsy in the United States.
Methods: Pooled medical expenditure panel survey data from 1996-2004 were used. Children's regression analyses were adjusted for race, sex, general self-reported health status, family size, and age. Adults' analyses were also adjusted for income and education. The national annual economic impact was estimated by multiplying the average individual differences by previously published national prevalence data.
Results: The results of regressions appropriately weighted to account for study design indicate excess medical expenditures for those with epilepsy of $4,523 [95% confidence interval: $3,184-$5,862]. Excess expenditures were similar for adults and children. Adults with epilepsy received 1.2 extra days of informal care [95% confidence interval: 0.2-2.3]. The national impact included $9.6 billion of medical expenditures and informal care.
Discussion: Epilepsy has significant impact on individual medical expenditure and generates a national impact in the billions of dollar.