Burden of Co-Infection: A Cost Analysis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in a Commercially Insured Hepatitis C Virus Population

Infect Dis Ther. 2019 Jun;8(2):219-228. doi: 10.1007/s40121-019-0240-7. Epub 2019 Mar 2.


Introduction: In patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) represents a major cause of morbidity and economic burden. Economic evaluations in HIV-HCV typically focus on government-sponsored insurance plans rather than a commercially insured cohort. This study evaluated the clinical and economic burden of HIV-HCV co-infection compared with HCV alone in commercially insured patients throughout the United States.

Methods: Commercial medical and pharmacy claims from 2007 to 2015 from a 10% random sample of enrollees within the IQVIA PharMetrics Plus™ administrative claims database were analyzed. Patients were included based on the presence of a claim with a HCV diagnosis across three separate cross-sectional periods which were created from the full dataset (2007-2009, 2010-2012, and 2013-2015). Costs incurred were categorized as emergency department, inpatient, outpatient medical, outpatient pharmacy, and other, based on the claim place of service. Descriptive statistics and proportion of total costs in each group have been reported for all cost categories.

Results: The samples included 22,329 from 2007 to 2009, 23,186 from 2010 to 2012, and 27,288 from 2013 to 2015. In all three cross-sections, HIV-HCV individuals were more likely to be male and carriers of hepatitis B virus. Pharmacy costs were $29,368 in the HCV-only group, compared to $73,547 in the HIV-HCV group (p < 0.0001). Pharmacy costs increased as a proportion of total costs for both groups, increasing after 2012 from 41% to 55% for HIV-HCV and from 19% to 34% for HCV-only.

Conclusion: The present study describes the total direct health care costs in HIV-HCV co-infected individuals and HCV-only patients in commercially insured health plans. Spending on pharmacy increased as a proportion of total health care costs in both groups. Further clinical and economic evaluations in HCV and/or HIV populations in the US should consider system-level factors related to insurance type when applying to the entire population.

Keywords: Burden-of-illness; Co-infection; Cost-of-illness; HIV; Hepatitis C.