Impact of disease severity on healthcare costs in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) virus infection

Hepatology. 2012 Nov;56(5):1651-60. doi: 10.1002/hep.25842. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection increases total healthcare costs but the effect of the severity of liver disease associated with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) on healthcare costs has not been well studied. We analyzed the demographics, healthcare utilization, and healthcare costs of CHC patients in a large U.S. private insurance database (January, 2002 to August, 2010), with at least 1 year of baseline enrollment and 30 days of continuous follow-up. Patients were stratified by liver disease severity: noncirrhotic liver disease (NCD), compensated cirrhosis (CC), and endstage liver disease (ESLD), as defined by the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9) codes. Mean all-cause and HCV-related healthcare costs per-patient-per-month (PPPM) during follow-up (mean 634 days) are reported in 2010 U.S.$ from the payer's perspective. A total of 53,796 patients with CHC were included (NCD: 41,858 [78%]; CC: 3,718 [7%]; and ESLD: 8,220 [15%]). Mean all-cause PPPM healthcare costs were 32% and 247% higher for patients with CC and ESLD compared to those with NCD ($1,870 and $4,931 versus $1,420; P < 0.001) and were independent of age or comorbid conditions. Pharmacy, ambulatory, and inpatient care collectively accounted for 90% of NCD costs and 93% of CC and ESLD costs. The largest cost components were inpatient costs for those with ESLD (56%) and ambulatory costs for those with CC and NCD (37% and 36%, respectively). Overall, 56% of costs were HCV-related and this proportion increased with severity (46%, 57%, and 71% for patients with NCD, CC, and ESLD, respectively).

Conclusion: The direct healthcare costs associated with CHC are high, increase in association with the progression of liver disease, and are highest in those with ESLD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Antiviral Agents / economics
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • End Stage Liver Disease / economics*
  • End Stage Liver Disease / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / economics*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / economics*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Liver Cirrhosis / economics*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents