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Arthritis testing could reduce medical costs

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

Increased awareness and improved testing to identify patients with osteoarthritis (OA) may help reduce medical costs by delaying disease progression, researchers say.

According to a study published in the December issue of the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, medical care for OA patients in the U.S. costs about $185.5 billion each year, HealthDay News reports.
"Understanding the economic costs of OA is important for payers, providers, patients and other stakeholders," said John Rizzo the study's author.

He added, "Our study clearly reflects the significant impact of OA on U.S. healthcare spending."

For treatment of the condition, insurers pay about $149.4 billion each year, while patients pay $36.1 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. The most common healthcare costs included physician, hospital and outpatient services, in addition to drugs and diagnostic tests.

Patients with OA experience a gradual loss of cartilage, usually in the knees, hips, hands, feet and spine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 27 million Americans currently have been diagnosed with OA. By 2030, experts expect that about 67 million people, nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, will suffer from the condition.
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