Background: Population aging is expected to result in a substantial additional burden on healthcare resources in the near future. We aimed to assess the current and future impact of aging on direct healthcare costs (DHC) attributed to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Methods: Patients with IBD from a Dutch multicenter cohort filled out 3-monthly questionnaires for 2 years. Elderly (≥60 yr) and younger patients (18–60 yr) IBD were analyzed for differences in 3-monthly DHC, productivity losses, and out-of-pocket costs. Prevalence rates were obtained from a health insurance database. Estimates of annual DHC and prevalence rates were applied to the total Dutch adult population in 2011 and then projected to 2040, using predicted changes in population demography, prices, and volume.
Results: IBD-attributable DHC were lower in elderly than in younger patients with IBD with respect to 3-monthly DHC (€359 versus €978, P < 0.01), productivity losses (€108 versus €456, P < 0.01), and out-of-pocket costs (€40 versus €57, P < 0.01). Between 2011 and 2040, the percentage of elderly IBD patients in the Netherlands has been projected to rise from 24% to 35%. Between 2011 and 2040, DHC of the total IBD population in the Netherlands are projected to increase from €161 to €661 million. Population aging accounted for 1% of this increase, next to rising prices (29%), and volume growth (70%).
Conclusions: Population aging has a negligible effect on IBD-attributable DHC of the IBD population in the near future, because the average costs incurred by elderly patients with IBD are considerably lower than those incurred by younger patients with IBD.