HealthDay News — Higher stroke prevalence in an aging population will likely double costs associated with stroke care, bringing the total to a projected $240.67 billion by 2030, according to an American Heart Association and American Stroke Association policy statement.
Using 2010 dollars, the real, total direct annual stroke-related medical costs are expected to increase from $71.55 billion to $183.13 billion between 2012 and 2030. Over the same time period, real indirect annual costs measured as loss of productivity are projected to rise from $33.65 billion to $56.54 billion.
This equates to a 129% increase, Bruce Obviagele, MD, MSc, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues reported in the statement.
“Greater emphasis on implementing effective preventive, acute care and rehabilitative services will have both medical and societal benefits,” the researchers wrote.
Basing projections on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Census Bureau estimates and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, they determined stroke prevalence will likely increase 21% by 2030 — affecting 3.4 million Americans or 4% of the population compared with 3% in 2012.
Stroke prevalence is expected to increase the most among minorities, with Hispanic men accounting for a 29% relative increase. Black men and women and those in the “other” category, such as Asians and Native Americans, will see a 26% and 27% increase, respectively.
Although prevalence among older adults is expected to stay steady around 15%, the number of people entering this age group will be one of the main drivers of cost. Direct medical costs of stroke care are expected to rise 182% in adults aged 65 to 79 years and 172% among those aged 80 years and older, the researchers project.
“The aging of the population has a lesser impact on indirect than direct costs given the lower rates of employment among the elderly,” they wrote wrote.
Currently stroke costs account for about 11% of the Medicare budget and about 2% of total national health expenditures, excluding nursing home care for stroke survivors.
Study limitations include the potential for errors in the surveys used to calculate projections, and lack of ability to predict future changes in medical treatment patterns or obesity and diabetes trends.