Incremental direct medical expenditures associated with anxiety disorders for the U.S. adult population: Evidence from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, United States. Electronic address: .
Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.96). 10/2013; 27(7):720-727. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.09.009


Data from the 2009 and 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) were used to estimate the annual incremental healthcare expenditures associated with anxiety disorders, for the ambulatory adult population of the U.S. Individuals 18 years and older, who reported a diagnosis of, or had a medical event associated with anxiety disorder(s), were classified as anxiety population. Multivariate regression analyses, using generalized linear models, were conducted to calculate incremental costs associated with anxiety disorders. 8.74% of adult respondents reported being diagnosed with anxiety disorder(s). The annual overall healthcare expenditure associated with anxiety disorders was estimated at $1657.52 per person (SE: $238.83; p < 0.001). Inpatient visits, prescription medications, and office-based visits together accounted for almost 93% of the overall cost. Given the prevalence of self-reported anxiety disorders in MEPS, their total direct medical expenditure is estimated at approximately $33.71 billion in 2013 US dollars, meaning this category of mental illnesses absorbs a significant portion of the U.S. healthcare resources.

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    ABSTRACT: With the recent increase in the prevalence of mental disorders in developing countries, there is a growing interest in the study of its consequences. We examined the association of depression, anxiety and any mental disorders with incremental health expenditure, i.e. the linear increase in health expenditure associated with mental disorders, and lost days of normal activity. We analyzed the results from a representative sample survey of residents of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo (n = 2,920; São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey), part of the World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative, coordinated by the World Health Organization and performed in 28 countries. The instrument used for obtaining the individual results, including the assessment of mental disorders, was the WMH version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 (WMH-CIDI 3.0) that generates psychiatric diagnoses according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria. Statistical analyses were performed by multilevel generalized least squares (GLS) regression models. Sociodemographic determinants such as income, age, education and marital status were included as controls. Depression, anxiety and any mental disorders were consistently associated with both incremental health expenditure and missing days of normal activity. Depression was associated with an incremental annual expenditure of R$308.28 (95 % CI: R$194.05-R$422.50), or US$252.48 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Anxiety and any mental disorders were associated with a lower, but also statistically significant, incremental annual expenditure (R$177.82, 95 % CI: 79.68-275.97; and R$180.52, 95 % CI: 91.13-269.92, or US$145.64 and US$147.85 in terms of PPP, respectively). Most of the incremental health costs associated with mental disorders came from medications. Depression was independently associated with higher incremental health expenditure than the two most prevalent chronic diseases found by the study (hypertension and diabetes). The fact that individuals with mental disorders had a consistent higher health expenditure is notable given the fact that Brazil has a universal free-of-charge healthcare and medication system. The results highlight the growing importance of mental disorders as a public health issue for developing countries.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · BMC Public Health