BACKGROUND: The presence of certain underlying medical conditions is known to increase the risk of pneumococcal disease in persons of all ages and across a wide spectrum of conditions, as demonstrated in two recent evaluations. Corresponding estimates of attributable economic costs have not been well characterized. We thus undertook a retrospective evaluation to estimate rates and costs of pneumococcal disease among children and adults with and without underlying medical conditions in the United States.
METHODS: Data were obtained from three independent healthcare claims repositories. The study population included all persons enrolled in participating health plans during 2007-2010, and was stratified into subgroups based on age and risk profile: healthy; at-risk, due to selected comorbid conditions; and high-risk, due to selected immunocompromising conditions. At-risk and high-risk conditions, as well as episodes of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and all-cause pneumonia (PNE), were identified via diagnosis, procedure, and drug codes. Rates and healthcare costs of IPD and PNE (2010US$) among at-risk and high-risk persons were compared with those from age-stratified healthy counterparts using incidence rate ratios (IRR) and cost ratios.
RESULTS: Rates of IPD and PNE were consistently higher among at-risk persons (IRR = 4.1 [95 % CI 3.9-4.3] and 4.5 [4.49-4.53]) and high-risk persons (IRR = 10.3 [9.7-11.0] and 8.2 [8.2-8.3]) of all ages versus their healthy counterparts. Rates were notably high for at-risk persons with ≥2 conditions (IRR = 9.0 [8.4-9.7] and 10.3 [10.3-10.4]), as well as those with asthma (IRR = 3.4 [3.0-3.8] and 4.5 [4.47-4.53]) or diabetes (IRR = 4.3 [4.0-4.6] and 4.7 [4.6-4.7]). Healthcare costs totaled $21.7 million per 100,000 at-risk person-years and $58.5 million per 100,000 high-risk person-years, which were 8.7 [8.5-8.8] and 23.4 [22.9-23.8] times higher than corresponding costs for healthy persons.
CONCLUSIONS: Rates and costs of IPD and PNE are substantially higher among persons with certain chronic and immunocompromising conditions versus those without any such conditions. Rates and costs for persons with asthma and diabetes were especially increased, and rates and costs for individuals with ≥2 at-risk conditions approached those among persons with high-risk conditions.