Adjusting for sociodemographics and comorbidities, patients with glaucoma incur an annual incremental economic burden of $1863.17, translating to $9.2 billion nationally. When analyzed by the health care service sector, prescription medication expenditures were higher for glaucoma patients.
The purpose of this study was to estimate the incremental health care burden, defined as attributable costs solely due to a diagnosis, of patients with diagnosed glaucoma, controlling for comorbidities, and sociodemographics.
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) participants (age above 18 y) between 2016 and 2018.
A cross-validated 2-part generalized linear regression model estimated the incremental glaucoma expenditures in aggregate and by sociodemographic subgroups and health care service sector [inpatient, outpatient (including surgical procedures), emergency room, home health, and medications] after 1:3 propensity matching.
After 1:3 propensity matching for sociodemographics and the Charlson Comorbidity Index, this study analyzed 1521 glaucoma patients (mean expenditures: $13,585.68±1367.03) and 4563 patients without glaucoma (mean expenditures: $12,048.92±782.49). A higher proportion of glaucoma patients are female, elderly, publicly insured (Medicare/Medicaid), college educated, identify ethnically as non-Hispanic, reside in the Northeast, and have more comorbidities (P<0.001). There were no differences in health care burden based on sex, income, insurance status, education, and year of care received for patients with glaucoma. Controlling for comorbidities and socioeconomic factors, propensity-matched glaucoma patients incur an annual incremental health care burden of $1863.17 (95% confidence interval, 393.44-3117.23, P=0.013), translating into an additional $9.2 billion in population-level US health care expenditures. By health care service sector, the expenditure ratio for health care expenditures was higher for prescription medications (expenditure ratio=1.20, 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.42, P=0.031).
Glaucoma patients have a substantial incremental economic health care burden after accounting for demographics and comorbidities, largely secondary to prescription medications. There is a need to continue identifying and studying treatment options for patients with glaucoma to maintain vision while minimizing health care expenditures.