The Healthcare and Societal Costs of Familial Intellectual Disability

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2024 Mar 4;21(3):299. doi: 10.3390/ijerph21030299.


Most of the studies on the cost of intellectual disability are limited to a healthcare perspective or cohorts composed of individuals where the etiology of the condition is a mixture of genetic and non-genetic factors. When used in policy development, these can impact the decisions made on the optimal allocation of resources. In our study, we have developed a static microsimulation model to estimate the healthcare, societal, and lifetime cost of individuals with familial intellectual disability, an inheritable form of the condition, to families and government. The results from our modeling show that the societal costs outweighed the health costs (approximately 89.2% and 10.8%, respectively). The lifetime cost of familial intellectual disability is approximately AUD 7 million per person and AUD 10.8 million per household. The lifetime costs to families are second to those of the Australian Commonwealth government (AUD 4.2 million and AUD 9.3 million per household, respectively). These findings suggest that familial intellectual disability is a very expensive condition, representing a significant cost to families and government. Understanding the drivers of familial intellectual disability, especially societal, can assist us in the development of policies aimed at improving health outcomes and greater access to social care for affected individuals and their families.

Keywords: cost-of-illness; familial intellectual disability; health economics; intellectual disability; microsimulation.

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability* / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability* / genetics