Author(s): Lee PP, Levin LA, Walt JG, Chiang T, Katz LM, Dolgitser M, Doyle JJ, Stern LS. Cost of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma: a retrospective study of commercial insurance claims data. Ophthalmology. 2007 Jul;114(7):1241-7. Epub 2007 Feb 16. PMID 17306876
PURPOSE Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) poses a large burden on eye care resources in the United States. We evaluated the total health care and POAG-specific charges (both pharmacy and nonpharmacy) incurred by patients with POAG using a longitudinal U.S. commercial insurance claims database to determine the relative magnitude of glaucoma care charges to overall health care charges for those patients with glaucoma.
DESIGN Retrospective cohort design.
PARTICIPANTS Sixty-four thousand three hundred eighty patients with POAG were identified.
METHODS Patients with POAG were selected (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision code 365.11 on at least 2 encounters) from a managed care claims database. Total health care and POAG-specific charges were calculated. Component charges (pharmacy and nonpharmacy) also were evaluated and the charge per treated person was calculated.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE Health care charges.
RESULTS The mean total health care charges per person in the first year after initial entry into the database with POAG were $13,404 (standard deviation [SD], $33,987), with a median charge of $5403. The mean POAG-specific charge per person was $1570 (SD, $3428), with a median charge of $840. Pharmacy charges were 25% of the POAG-specific charges. The POAG-specific charges in subsequent years after the initial year decreased by 7% per year, whereas the total health care mean charge increased by 39% per year. Patients aged 65 years and older had significantly higher mean charges for both total health care charges ($16,759 vs. $11,651; P<0.0001) and POAG-specific charges ($1624 vs. $1542; P = 0.0049), for an age-related increase of 44% for total charges and 5% for POAG-specific charges. Overall, POAG-specific mean charges represented 12% of total mean charges in the first year and 8% of total overall mean charges in subsequent years.
CONCLUSIONS There is a substantial cost burden associated with POAG in a population with commercial insurance, and most of these charges are not pharmacy related.