Direct and indirect costs of infectious conjunctivitis in a commercially insured population in the United States

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Purpose: To assess the direct and indirect costs of infectious conjunctivitis and quantify medical costs due to conjunctivitis transmission in families. Methods: In this retrospective claims analysis from the OptumHealth Care Solutions, Inc. database (1998–2016), beneficiaries with or without at least one diagnosis of infectious conjunctivitis were identified. Direct and indirect costs (in 2016 US$) during the 60 days post conjunctivitis diagnosis (or imputed date for controls) were compared using cost differences in linear regressions. For transmission cost analysis, the total cost of each conjunctivitis episode was the sum of the primary episode (seed patient) and the secondary episode (infected family members) costs. A generalized estimating equation model adjusted for seed patient characteristics was used to assess the impact of number and rate of transmissions on episode cost. Results: Health care resource utilization and direct costs were significantly higher for patients with conjunctivitis (n=1,002,188) versus controls (n=4,877,210): 1.67 all-cause visits per person per month (PPPM) versus 0.79 visits PPPM, respectively; total mean direct cost of $396.04 PPPM versus $289.63 PPPM, respectively. The cost of medically related absenteeism was $105.42 (95% confidence interval [CI], $104.18–$106.75) higher for patients with conjunctivitis than for controls. Episode cost, without transmission due to seed patient, was $669.43 (95% CI, $654.67–$684.85); it increased with each additional infected family member and with increased infection transmission time between family members. Conclusion: Conjunctivitis was associated with a notable economic burden in terms of direct medical costs and medically related absenteeism. Family health care costs increased with transmission time and with each family member infected with conjunctivitis.




Pepose, J. S., Sarda, S. P., Cheng, W. Y., McCormick, N., Cheung, H. C., Bobbili, P., … Duh, M. S. (2020). Direct and indirect costs of infectious conjunctivitis in a commercially insured population in the United States. Clinical Ophthalmology, 14, 377–387.

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