Objectives: Examine the self-reported health and productivity burden of three autoimmune disorders: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Methods: A 2009 representative survey of a major employer's US workforce, with two approaches for disease identification: (1) self-report and (2) self-report replicated by claims-based International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision (ICD-9), codes.
Results: Self-reported prevalence: rheumatoid arthritis, 4.2%; psoriasis, 3.0%; inflammatory bowel disease, 1.2%. Psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease replicated rheumatoid arthritis' pattern of health and productivity effects though not as strongly. The three autoimmune disorders combined significantly affected health at all severity levels. They also significantly affected productivity at higher severity but not at no symptom/lower severity levels.
Conclusions: When employees with autoimmune disorders with lower severity/no symptoms do not progress to higher severity, their work performance remains on par with healthy employees. Autoimmune disorders' high impact/low prevalence offers much promise for lowering costs through benefit design.