Meet Dr. Donnica Video Introduction TV Appearances

Diseases & Conditions Today on DrDonnica.com Clinical Trials Decisionnaires FAQs Top Tips Fast Facts Debunking Myths News Alerts Celebrity Speak Out Guest Experts Women's Health Champions Books Women's Health Resources

Mission Privacy Policy Sponsors Press Room What's New? Contact Us

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.


Hope Award

Send to a Friend

The First Study on Lifetime Medical Costs for Women

Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2002) The Society for Women's Health Research, on behalf of The Partnership for Long-Term Health for Women, today announced the results of the first-ever study quantifying the lifetime medical costs of treating women with chronic illnesses.  The study, conducted by Analysis Group | Economics, focused on women who have been treated for cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, or stress urinary incontinence (SUI), three conditions that differentially affect women in the United States.   

Lifetime incremental medical costs for women include $423,000 for CVD, $233,000 for diabetes (i.e., Type 1 and Type 2), and $58,000 for SUI. These are the costs of treating a woman with the condition versus the cost of treating a woman without the condition. Coexisting conditions that may be increasing the cost of CVD include the added costs of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity.  Coexisting conditions that may increase the cost of diabetes include hypertension, retinopathy and nephropathy.  Costs of stress urinary incontinence patients are also related to the treatment of coexisting conditions, such as menopause, obesity and urinary tract infection.  The study examined both lifetime and annual medical costs for women. 

"The findings show that the medical costs for treating women with these three conditions are staggering and we view these results as prompting a much needed call-to-action," said Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, President and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research.  "The study helps us raise awareness of the need for women to educate themselves about their potential health risks, understand the importance of disease prevention and the need for more research to advance treatments and therapies, as well as prepare themselves financially." 

Annual incremental medical costs were also found to be high.  The annual incremental medical costs for women up to age 64 who were treated for CVD, diabetes or SUI are $6,700, $5,550 and $3,300, respectively.  For women treated for hypertension and/or hypercholestrerolemia (who also may have been treated for CVD), the average annual incremental cost is $3,100.

According to published government statistics, medical costs to treat a woman 65 years and older are approximately five times higher than those of a woman aged 64 and younger.  The annual incremental medical costs for women 65 years and older being treated for CVD, diabetes or SUI are $30,700, $25,000 and $15,000, respectively. These lifetime cost findings are the first-ever estimates and suggest the need for further research and methodological developments.  Both lifetime and annual figures are incremental costs, which are defined as the costs to treat the conditions and their related co-morbid (i.e. coexisting) conditions.  These costs may be driven by treatment of related CO-morbid conditions and patterns of medical services use.

"The study provides a snapshot of the high costs of treating women burdened with these conditions and demonstrates that medical costs for treating these women can be a great economic burden," stated Howard Birnbaum, Director of the Health Economics Practice at Analysis Group | Economics in Boston, which conducted the independent study.  "The results provide a starting point for policy discussions about the lifetime economic burden of illness for women and the nation.  They also provide a good baseline for women to take appropriate action regarding their health and financial security."

These findings serve as an indicator for what is spent on the medical treatment of women suffering from a particular disease.  The study also conveys the need for policy makers to provide more resources for additional clinical research, gender-based healthcare information, and access to preventive care for all women.

The study's research objective was to estimate the medical cost for treating women with CVD, diabetes, or SUI over their lifetime.  Researchers used medical claims data from a national Fortune 100 company, which were supplemented with government statistics.  The research sample included over 20,000 women. Women treated for each condition were matched to similar women ("controls") without the condition (based on age, employment status, geographic locations, and per capita income levels). 

The estimated costs of women 65 years and older are based on claims data and published government statistics.  These annual cost estimates form the basis for calculating lifetime costs. 

Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and SUI
Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death among women.  About 950,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each year, equaling one death every 33 seconds.  More than half of all cardiovascular disease deaths each year occur among women.

Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating, and often deadly illness. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States alone. Diabetes is also a progressive illness that requires different treatments at different stages and has a high prevalence rate among women (8.2%), affecting approximately 8 million women in the U.S.

A May 2002 survey by the National Association for Continence found that stress urinary incontinence affects one in three American women in the US  SUI is the involuntary leakage of urine brought on by "stress" or pressure upon the bladder as a result of laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting, or exercise, and often goes undiagnosed because women are frequently too embarrassed to discuss it.  Estimates show only 1 out of 12 women will talk to their healthcare professional about SUI.

About The Society for Women's Health Research
The Society for Women's Health Research is the nation's only not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to improve the health of women through research. The Society advocates increased funding for research on women's health, encourages the study of sex differences that may affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and promotes the inclusion of women in medical research studies.

About The Partnership for Long-term Health for Women
The Partnership for Long-term Health for Women was formed in 1999 by leaders from national and international organizations representing women, healthcare, aging, and minority communities who joined together to identify ways to provide women with accurate health information and empower them to take preventive action.  The Partnership currently represents more that 50 national organizations and is funded by the Lilly Centre for Women's Health, whose mission is to produce extraordinary value for women by understanding and leveraging sex and gender-based research and the influential role of women in healthcare.

Created: 9/19/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.

Home | Today on DrDonnica.com | Meet Dr. Donnica | TV Appearances | Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions | Decisionnaires | Celebrity Speak Out | Guest Experts | Women's Health Champions
FAQs | Women’s Health Resources | Archive | Books & Tapes | Site Certification | Advanced Search
Mission | What’s New? | Press Room | Privacy Policy | Sponsors | Partners | Contact Us