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Increase Expected in Medical Care Costs for COPD

Doctor and patient with pile of money super-imposedReduce medical costs for COPD, invest in programs that prevent tobacco use.

Understanding the rise in medical costs for people with COPD

In a new study, researchers estimate that on average each adult with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) paid $6,000 more in medical care than an adult without COPD. The increase in cost may have to do with care received for conditions that are more common among people with COPD:

  • Heart disease.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Diabetes.
  • Asthma.
  • Depression.

By 2020 it is expected that the cost of medical care for adults with COPD will be more than $90 billion which is like buying 90 professional sports teams. Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have paid for most of the national health care cost related to COPD. The impact on the economy is also felt by employers who reported almost $4 billion in absentee costs in 2010. While the costs to states vary, all are paying large amounts for conditions that can be prevented.

How can we lower medical costs related to COPD?

Clinicians can

  • Use proven interventions to prevent tobacco use and reduce clinical complications of COPD.

People can

  • Choose not to smoke.
  • Ask their doctor or nurse about resources to help them quit.
  • Call the quitline in your state or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW(1-800-784-8669).

Infogrpahic Depitcing the Costs of COPD

National medical treatment costs for adults with COPD are projected to increase from an overall $59.3 billion in 2010 to $90.6 billion by 2020. After taking into account costs of medical treatment for injuries and other conditions unrelated to COPD, the national estimates attributable to COPD are still high ($32.1 billion in 2010 with a projection to $49.0 billion by 2020). Medicare paid 51% of those costs with 25% paid by Medicaid and 18% by private insurance in 2010. Total absenteeism costs were $3.9 billion in 2010 with an estimated 16.4 million days of work lost because of COPD. This is the first report of state medical costs for COPD, which ranged from $42.5 million in Alaska to $2.5 billion in Florida in 2010.

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