Lupus is a chronic autoimmune and incurable rheumatic disease and has a global prevalence of 3.2–517.5 cases per 100,000 people. However, currently there is no knowledge regarding the actual direct cost of patients with lupus to healthcare systems in developing countries. This study aimed to determine the direct cost of lupus care in Colombia.
To identify patients with lupus, claims data of 2 years from two health insurers were subjected to an algorithm according to International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision codes. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess the direct cost of lupus care.
The average annual per-patient, all-claims, all-cause direct cost was $2355; this is approximately 9 times the average annual premium received by health insurers for covering the public benefits package. Approximately 50% of direct costs are not included in the public benefits package. The incidence of one or more condition is 98.4%. The direct cost incurred by patients with two comorbidities was 1.8 times more, with three chronic conditions was 1.9 times more and with six chronic conditions was 4.5 times more than that incurred by patients with only lupus.
The direct cost of lupus care in the developing world may be higher than expected; in addition, access to healthcare may not be equal for the entire population.
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