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Cost of Untreated Insomnia in Medicare Patients

Sleep; ePub 2019 Jan 12; Wickwire, Tom, et al

Individuals with untreated insomnia demonstrated increased health care utilization (HCU) and costs across all points of service. This according to a recent study that aimed to examine the impact of untreated insomnia on HCU among a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries. The data source was a random 5% sample of Medicare administrative data for years 2006–2013. Insomnia was operationalized as the presence of at least 1 claim containing an insomnia-related diagnosis in any given year or at least 1 prescription fill for an insomnia-related medication. Researchers compared HCU in the year prior to insomnia diagnosis to HCU among to non-sleep disordered controls during the same period. They found:

  • A total of 151,668 beneficiaries were found to have insomnia.
  • Compared to controls (n=333,038), beneficiaries with insomnia had higher rates of HCU across all point of service locations.
  • Rates of HCU were highest for inpatient care and lowest for prescription fills.
  • Similarly, compared to controls, beneficiaries with insomnia demonstrated $63,607 higher all-cause costs, which were driven primarily by inpatient care ($60,900).
  • Emergency department ($1,492) and prescription costs ($486) were also elevated among cases relative to controls.

Wickwire EM, Tom SE, Scharf SM, Vadlamani A, Bulatao IG, Albrecht JS. Untreated insomnia increases all-cause health care utilization and costs among Medicare beneficiaries. [Published online ahead of print January 12, 2019]. Sleep. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsz007.