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Children with Sickle Cell Disease had Significantly Higher Medical Costs Than Those Without SCD

Medical costs of children with SCD were $9,369 and $13,469 higher than those of children without SCD enrolled in Medicaid and private insurance, respectively. Total pediatric medical costs from SCD in the United States were estimated to be at least $335 million per year.

Chart: Children and Sickle Cell Disease: Average Annual Medical Expenses by Insurance Type Children with SCD: Medicaid ($11,075), Private Insurance ($14,722). Children without SCD: Medicaid ($1,706), Private Insurance ($1,293). Expenses due to SCD: Medicaid ($9,369), Private Insurance ($13,469). Annual per capita medical expenditures for children with SCD

Pediatric Medicaid enrollees with SCD incur lower medical expenditures than those in private insurance ($11,075 vs. $14,722). For children without SCD, annual mean total expenditures were significantly higher for those enrolled in Medicaid than for those enrolled in private insurance ($1,706 vs. $1,293, respectively). The difference between the expenditures of children with SCD and those without is a rough proxy of the attributable cost of the disease. Thus, children with SCD enrolled Medicaid and private insurance incur expenditures that are $9,369 and $13,469 higher than those of children without SCD. The ratios of total mean expenditures were 6 and 11 for Medicaid and private insurance, respectively. Analysis by type of care suggest that the largest ratios for both Medicaid and private insurance were for inpatient care (i.e., 17 and 34, respectively), while the lowest ratios were for prescription drugs (i.e., 3 and 2, respectively).

Estimated National Medical Expenditures attributable to SCD

A combination of data was relied upon to estimate the national SCD-attributable pediatric medical expenditures. In 2005, there were an estimated 28,426 black children with SCD in the U.S.. Adjusting by 10% to account for nonblack children with SCD yielded an estimated number of 31,269 children with SCD. Assuming that two thirds of children with SCD were enrolled in Medicaid, the SCD-attributable expenditures per child estimate were $10,706. Therefore, total medical expenditures for children with SCD were approximately $335 million in 2005.

Chart: Children and Sickle Cell Disease: Annual Average Medical Expenses by Type of Insurance (all expenses are average by child

Data Source:

Amendah DD, Mvundura M, Kavanagh PL, Sprinz PG, Grosse, SD. Sickle Cell Disease-Related Pediatric Medical Expenditures in the U.S. Am J Prev Med 2010;(4S):S550-S556.

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: May 4, 2012
  • Page last updated: April 16, 2010
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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