What are the monetary costs associated with fibromyalgia?

Ami Ben-Artzi, MD
Rheumatology
One study found that the cost to treat a person with severe fibromyalgia is about $2,300 over a three-month period. With the Affordable Care Act and the emphasis on reducing the health care spending, this is significant.
 
The indirect costs of fibromyalgia -- such as time lost from work and productivity lost as a member of society -- are also significant. These indirect costs are also estimated to be $10,000 over a three-month period. If there were more effective ways of managing fibromyalgia, the costs could likely be reduced.
The 2012 Institute of Medicine Report about Pain in America revealed that more than 100 million Americans are in pain with a annual price tag of more than $65 billion. The cost of fibromyalgia to both the individual and to society is extensive. A 2007 study found that 34% of people with fibromyalgia spend between $100-$1,000 per month above their insurance to see a healthcare professional. Prominent fibromyalgia researchers and specialists estimate the costs in the U.S. between $12-14 billion each year and accounts for a loss of 1-2% of the nation’s overall productivity. 

According to a 2003 published study in the Journal of Rheumatology:
  • The total annual costs for fibromyalgia claimants were more than twice as high as the costs for the typical insurance beneficiary.
  • The prevalence of disability among employees with fibromyalgia was twice as high as among all employees.
  • For every dollar spent on fibromyalgia specific claims, employers spent approximately $50 -$100 on additional direct and indirect costs.
Additional studies show:
  • Work and disability status of 1,668 people with fibromyalgia reported that 25% had received disability payments.
  • Failure to diagnose a true case of fibromyalgia has its own costs, largely in excess general practitioner visits, investigations and prescriptions.
  • Use of complementary and alternative medicine is two and a half times higher in people with fibromyalgia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.