Background: COPD remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The objectives of this study were to estimate (1) national US COPD-attributable annual medical costs by payer (direct) and absenteeism (indirect) in 2010 and projected medical costs through 2020 and (2) state-specific COPD-attributable medical and absenteeism costs in 2010.
Methods: We used the 2006-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, and 2010 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data to generate cost estimates and 2010 census data to project medical costs through 2020.
Results: In 2010, total national medical costs attributable to COPD and its sequelae were estimated at $32.1 billion, and total absenteeism costs were $3.9 billion, for a total burden of COPD-attributable costs of $36 billion. An estimated 16.4 million days of work were lost because of COPD. Of the medical costs, 18% was paid for by private insurance, 51% by Medicare, and 25% by Medicaid. National medical costs are projected to increase from $32.1 billion in 2010 to $49.0 billion in 2020. Total state-specific costs in 2010 ranged from $49.1 million in Wyoming to $2.8 billion in California: medical costs ranged from $42.5 million in Alaska to $2.5 billion in Florida and absenteeism costs ranged from $8.4 million in Wyoming to $434.0 million in California.
Conclusions: Costs attributable to COPD and its sequelae are substantial and are projected to increase through 2020. Evidence-based interventions that prevent tobacco use and reduce the clinical complications of COPD may result in potential decreased COPD-attributable costs.