Cost Statistics

The Cost of Arthritis in US Adults

Arthritis has a profound economic, personal, and societal impact in the United States. In 2013, the total national arthritis-attributable medical care costs and earnings losses among adults with arthritis were $303.5 billion or 1% of the 2013 US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).1 Learn more about the impact of these medical care costs and earnings losses on those with arthritis.

Medical Costs

  • In 2013, the national arthritis-attributable medical costs were $140 billion.
    • That’s $2,117 in extra medical costs per adult with arthritis.1
  • Ambulatory care medical care costs accounted for nearly half of arthritis-attributable medical costs.1
  • Medical care costs include prescriptions.

Earnings Losses

  • Total national arthritis-attributable lost wages were $164 billion in 2013.
    • That’s $4,040 less pay for an adult with arthritis compared with an adult without arthritis.1
  • The high earnings losses were because of the substantially lower percentage of adults with arthritis working compared with adults without arthritis. This indicates the need for interventions that keep people with arthritis in the work force.
The High Cost of Arthritis in the US - $304 Billion in 2013. $140 billion in medical costs. That's $2,117 in extra medical costs per adult with arthritis. $164 billion in lost wages. That's $4,040 less pay than an adult without arthritis. Physical activity programs may ease pain and reduce costs due to arthritis.image icon[JPG - 112 KB]

The High Cost of Arthritis in the United States

Cost of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of arthritis, affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States.2 It is also among the most expensive conditions to treat when joint replacement surgery is required. In fact, OA was the second most costly health condition treated at US hospitals in 2013.3 In that year, it accounted for $16.5 billion, or 4.3%, of the combined costs for all hospitalizations.3

OA was also the most expensive condition for which privately insured patients were hospitalized, accounting for over $6.2 billion in hospital costs.3


1. Murphy LB, Cisternas MG, Pasta DJ, Helmick CG, Yelin EH. Medical expenditures and earnings losses among US adults with arthritis in 2013. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2017 September 26. [Epub ahead of print] abstractexternal icon

2. United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS), Fourth Edition. Rosemont, IL. Available at http://www.boneandjointburden.orgexternal icon. Accessed on February 25, 2020.

3. Torio CM, Moore BJ. Statistical Brief #204. National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2013. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2016. htmlexternal icon