Patient Education
Economic Costs

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What Is the Economic Cost of Sinusitis and Other Sinus Disorders?

Costs of sinusitis treatment remain high

The latest estimates provided by the U.S. Government's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality state that:

  • Overall health care expenditures attributable to sinusitis in 1996 were estimated at $5.8 billion, of which $1.8 billion (30.6 percent) was for children 12 years or younger.
  • A primary diagnosis of acute or chronic sinusitis accounted for 58.7 percent of all expenditures ($3.5 billion).
  • About 12 percent of the costs for each-asthma, chronic otitis media, and eustachian tube disorders-were attributed to diagnosis and treatment of associated sinusitis.
  • Nearly 90 percent of all expenditures ($5.1 billion) was associated with ambulatory or emergency services. This includes the costs of endoscopic surgery and necessary CT diagnostic screening.

The total cost of diagnosing and treating sinusitis remains one of the most expensive chronic disorders experienced by the U.S. population. Source: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.

Workforce productivity is affected by the prevalence of sinusitis and other sinus disorders

The 2000 study, "Industry-Specific Medical Care Utilization and Expenditures," provides high level information about health care utilization and expenditures associated with prevalent and costly disease conditions affecting American businesses. Data for this study was retrieved from the MEDSTAT Group's 1996 MarketScan® Private Pay Fee-For-Service Data Base (which included some 4,106,124 covered patients from 61 corporations in eight diverse industries).

The study found in a one year period:

  • Sinusitis ranked second (behind diseases of the ear, mastoid, nose, and throat) in terms of prevalence. A review of the claims found 375,842 patients (9.1 percent) reported sinusitis.
  • The average pay-out per patient claim was $200. This compared to conditions, such as back disorders, which had a lower prevalence (seven percent) and a higher cost per claim ($504).

According to previous findings, between 1990 and 1992 approximately 73 million restricted activity days were reported by patients with sinusitis, a 50 percent increase over the corresponding days tabulated between 1986 and 1988.

Source: MEDSTAT Group and the publication, "Sinusitis: Bench to Bedside: Current Findings," a supplement to the June, 1997 edition of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Sinusitis sufferers can decrease their costs associated with this chronic disorder

Patients incurring chronic sinusitis can make a major contribution to decreasing the costs of treating this upper respiratory disease. They should quit smoking; remove, when possible, all allergic agents from their living environment; and seek care from specialists who will provide the optimum treatment upon accurate diagnosis.

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