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Annual Incremental Health Benefit Costs and Absenteeism Among Employees With and Without Rheumatoid Arthritis

Kleinman, Nathan L. PhD; Cifaldi, Mary A. PhD, MSHA, RPh; Smeeding, James E. MBA, RPh; Shaw, James W. PhD, PharmD, MPH; Brook, Richard A. MS, MBA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 3 - p 240–244
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318282d310
Original Articles

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.

From a collaborative effort of the JeSTARx Group, the HCMS Group, and Abbott Pharmaceuticals; Data Analytics (Dr Kleinman), HCMS Group, Cheyenne, Wyo; Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research (Drs Cifaldi and Shaw), Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill; The JeSTARx Group (Mr Smeeding), Dallas, Tex; and Retrospective Analysis (Mr Brook), The JeSTARx Group, Newfoundland, NJ.

Address correspondence to: Richard A. Brook, MS, MBA, Retrospective Research, The JeSTARx Group, 18 Hirth Dr, Newfoundland, NJ 07435 (

Financial support for this study was provided by Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL.

Disclosure: Mr Brook and Mr Smeeding have disclosed that they are employed by the JeSTARx Group, and Dr Kleinman has disclosed that he is employed by HCMS Group, both of which companies received funding from Abbott Laboratories to conduct this research. Drs Cifaldi and Shaw have disclosed that they are both employed by and own stocks in Abbott Laboratories.

Portions of this research were presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, November 4–9, 2011, Chicago, Illinois.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine