Objective: To examine direct costs of hip, vertebral, and non-hip non-vertebral (NHNV) fractures, and to estimate the rate of osteoporosis (OA) diagnosis and treatment in the fracture population.
Methods: Subjects ≥ 45 years with a new hip, vertebral, or NHNV fragility (closed) fracture between June 30, 2002 and June 30, 2006 were studied retrospectively. All-cause and fracture-specific medical costs were calculated from medical claims in the 12-month baseline and follow-up periods. Total healthcare costs included pharmacy and medical costs. Diagnosis for OA and OA treatment were identified in both the baseline and follow-up period from diagnosis codes on medical claims for OA, and from pharmacy claims for treatment. Analyses were performed separately for commercial (COM) and Medicare Advantage (MA) populations and stratified by fracture type. Generalized linear models were estimated for total follow-up healthcare cost.
Results: The study sample included 36,521 COM and 10,160 MA subjects. Hip fracture subjects had the highest follow-up medical costs in unadjusted and adjusted analyses (COM: mean $35,898; median $22,945; MA: mean $32,919; median $26,047). Follow-up costs were much higher than baseline costs. Fracture-related costs accounted for a large proportion of follow-up medical costs. Although rates of osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment increased from baseline to follow-up, the majority of both COM and MA subjects had no evidence of osteoporosis diagnosis or treatment in either period.
Conclusions: Despite limitations of this study, including conventional generalizability issues, and sensitivity and specificity of claims-based diagnoses, results are consistent with other research and provide compelling results of substantial cost burden of fractures related to osteoporosis. Low rates of osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment among patients with costly fragility fractures underscore the opportunity for managed care organizations to initiate comprehensive disease management programs in osteoporosis.