Objective: We sought to assess the feasibility of using a health insurance claims database to estimate the prevalence and health care utilization and costs among children diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Study design: This was a retrospective analysis of the LifeLink insurance claims database for the years 2000-2006. Children (0-15 years) and young adults (16-25 years) with ≥ 2 diagnosis claims for SLE or IBD were selected as the 2 cohorts of interest. For each member of the SLE and IBD cohorts, 2 individuals were randomly selected for a matched comparison group. All the analyses were descriptive in nature, CI for differences between means and 2 proportions for measures including health care utilization, comorbidity burden were based on t tests and 2-group tests of proportions.
Results: We identified 278 patients with SLE (prevalence estimate: 7.9 per/100000 population) and 1174 patients with IBD (33.2 per/100000 population). The mean annual total medical costs was substantially higher for the SLE (difference: $22223; 95% CI: $14961-$29485) and IBD (difference: $16238; 95% CI: $14395-$18082) cohorts compared with those of the comparator cohort. We observed higher comorbidity burdens in the SLE and IBD cohorts than we saw in the comparator cohort.
Conclusions: Administrative claims data can be a useful tool for assessing the comparative prevalence and associated resource utilization of rare conditions such as SLE and IBD.
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