Objective: To assess the impact of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on absence time, absence payments, and other health benefit costs from the perspective of US employers.
Methods: Retrospective regression-controlled analysis of a database containing US employees' administrative health care and payroll data for those who were enrolled for at least 1 year in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.
Results: Employees with RA (N = 2705) had $4687 greater average annual medical and prescription drug costs (P < 0.0001) and $525 greater (P < 0.05) indirect costs (because of sick leave, short- and long-term disability, and workers' compensation absences) than controls (N = 338,035). Compared with controls, the employees with RA used an additional 3.58 annual absence days, including 1.2 more sick leave and 1.91 more short-term disability days (both P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Employees with RA have greater costs across all benefits than employees without RA.