Publication Abstract

Authors: Rein DB, Borton J, Liffmann DK, Wittenborn JS

Title: The burden of hepatitis C to the United States Medicare system in 2009: Descriptive and economic characteristics.

Journal: Hepatology 63(4):1135-44

Date: 2016 Apr

Abstract: UNLABELLED: The aim of this work was to estimate and describe the Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 2009, incremental annual costs by disease stage, incremental total Medicare HCV payments in 2009 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data covering the years 2002 to 2009. We weighted the 2009 SEER-Medicare data to create estimates of the number of patients with an HCV diagnosis, used an inverse probability-weighted two-part, probit, and generalized linear model to estimate incremental per patient per month costs, and used simulation to estimate annual 2009 Medicare burden, presented in 2014 dollars. We summarized patient characteristics, diagnoses, and costs from SEER-Medicare files into a person-year panel data set. We estimated there were 407,786 patients with diagnosed HCV in 2009, of whom 61.4% had one or more comorbidities defined by the study. In 2009, 68% of patients were diagnosed with chronic HCV only, 9% with cirrhosis, 12% with decompensated cirrhosis (DCC), 2% with liver cancer, 2% with a history of transplant, and 8% who died. Annual costs for patients with chronic infection only and DCC were higher than the values used in many previous cost-effectiveness studies, and treatment of DCC accounted for 63.9% of total Medicare's HCV expenditures. Medicare paid $2.7 billion (credible interval: $0.7-$4.6 billion) in incremental costs for HCV in 2009. CONCLUSIONS: The costs of HCV to Medicare in 2009 were substantial and expected to increase over the next decade. Annual costs for patients with chronic infection only and DCC were higher than values used in many cost-effectiveness analyses.