Background: Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are chronic, debilitating conditions that can have important economic and clinical implications.
Aim: To quantify individual and national estimates of the health care and patient out-of-pocket (OOP) costs of CD and UC.
Methods: In a retrospective study using 1996 to 2009 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, individuals' self-reported health conditions were mapped to International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnostic codes. Individuals with a code of 555.x (CD) or 556.x (UC) were identified. Health care services and costs included prescriptions and inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, office, and home health services. OOP costs were the portion of individuals' total payments for health care services.
Results: There were 358 individuals with CD (mean age 49.0 years; 55 % female), 198 individuals with UC (mean age 47.1 years; 64 % female), and 206,993 individuals without inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (mean age 48.2 years; 58 % female). Annual per capita health insurer and OOP costs for individuals with CD were greater than those without IBD ($9,526 versus $3,781, p < 0.001 and $1,603 versus $866, p < 0.001, respectively). Health insurer and OOP costs were greater for UC compared with those without IBD ($6,443 versus $3,781, p < 0.001 and $1,263 versus $866, p < 0.001, respectively). US national aggregate annual estimates of health insurer, OOP, and total direct costs secondary to CD are $2.04 billion, $0.26 billion, and $2.29 billion, respectively. Aggregate health insurer, OOP, and total direct costs attributable to UC are $0.53 billion, $0.07 billion, and $0.61 billion, respectively.
Conclusions: The direct costs associated with CD and UC are substantial. The extent to which appropriate diagnosis and treatment reduces the total health care costs for individuals with CD or UC should be examined.