July 1, 2018

Health Care Expenditures Among Elderly Patients with Epilepsy in the United States

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate health care expenditures among elderly patients with epilepsy in the United States.

METHODS: We performed an analysis with 2003-2014 data of weighted 37,738,607 US participants aged 65 years to estimate health care expenditures in the elderly with and without epilepsy using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component. Unadjusted health care expenditures were estimated. Independent health care expenditures were estimated, using a 2-part model.

RESULTS: We identified 416,496 (1.1%) older individuals with epilepsy. Comorbidities were more prevalent among older individuals with epilepsy versus younger individuals. Mean unadjusted yearly medical cost of epilepsy in elderly patients with epilepsy was $18 712 (95% confidence interval [CI] = $15 947-$21 476) during the pooled period 2003-2014, which was nearly double the equivalent cost in elderly subjects without epilepsy at $10 168 (95% CI = $9925-$10 410). Mean unadjusted annual medical cost of epilepsy in the elderly increased by $2135 from $15 850 (95% CI = $10 668-$21 032) in 2003-2006 to $17 985 (95% CI = $13 710-$22 260) in 2011-2014. Adjusted mean total health care expenditures per person per year for elderly patients with epilepsy were $12 526 in 2003-2006, $13 423 in 2007-2010, and $10 569 in 2011-2014. Adjusted incremental health care costs associated with epilepsy in the elderly accrued by $4595 (95% CI = $2399-$6791) when compared to elderly subjects without epilepsy. We estimated the mean annual aggregate cost of epilepsy at $7.8 billion to the US population.

SIGNIFICANCE: Epilepsy is common among elderly individuals, and health care expenditures among this growing group are 2 times higher than in those without epilepsy.

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